Brands have long flocked to Univision’s telenovelas, eager to get their products in front of Spanish-speaking audiences. But the network is taking product placement to a new, reality-bending level with its latest soap, “El Talisman,” giving Chevrolet’s vehicles a co-starring role.
With the General Motors brand as the lead sponsor of the sudser that bowed Monday, Chevy trucks drive the plot through prominent integrations.
For example, two of the show’s main characters meet inside a 1971 Chevy Cheyenne, nicknamed “La Viejita,” while a 2012 Chevy Silverado bears witness to everything happening at the show’s Talisman ranch. The truck even has its own website where it “shares insights” on the novela, with added scenes the truck has witnessed at the ranch.
Throughout the novela, characters driving in their Chevys will hear love messages and songs dedicated to one another on the radio.
The integration will also unspool online and via mobile at NovelasySeries.com, where “El Talisman” fans will be encouraged to submit their own dedications and love stories. The best love story will be read on air while the characters drive their vehicles, influencing a major decision in one of the character’s stories.
Chevy’s Cruze, Sonic, Volt, Equinox and Suburban are also integrated into the show.
“El Talisman,” produced by Univision Studios with Venevision, revolves around three families who battle for a California ranch. Show stars Blanca Soto (“Eva Luna”), Aaron Diaz (“Teresa”) and Rafael Novoa.
The series other sponsors include Domino’s Pizza, Suave Professionals and T-Mobile USA, which also have their own placements.
Domino’s also will sponsor pre-show teasers to remind viewers to order pizzas before the show begins, while T-Mobile will produce vignettes that depict a woman eager to watch “El Talisman” being interrupted by humorous situations.
Such blatant product placement isn’t unusual in telenovelas, but Univision’s latest deals could give other broadcasters new ideas about how to get advertisers in front of auds in more creative ways.
The brands were especially motivated to back “El Talisman” given that Univision hopes to make it the first sudser to reach English-speaking viewers, through closed captioning subtitles, as a way to broaden viewership of its telenovela block.
Full episodes of “El Talisman” will be available online at NovelasySeries.com and on mobile via the Univision Video App a day after they air, while Univision On Demand will make episodes available the next day.
Chevy was involved early during the show’s development, guaranteeing such high-profile exposure.
“Univision’s original novela productions give marketers like Chevrolet the opportunity to get involved at the development stage making it possible for their product to be an integral part of the story line,” said David Lawenda, president, advertising sales and marketing for Univision Communications.