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TNT, TBS to Imbibe MillerCoors Brews in Ad Pact

Brewer gains footing in 'Dallas,' 'Rizzoli' and other shows; might Bud feel slighted?

Imagine if your local bar served just one beer company’s products. That may be the feeling one gets by consistently viewing programs on the suite of Turner cable networks owned by Time Warner as the media company partners with suds giant MillerCoors to work its beverages into programs including “Dallas,” “Franklin and Bash” and “Rizzoli & Isles.”

As part of a wide-ranging pact between Turner and MillerCoors, the beer company’s products — which include everything from Blue Moon to Coors Light — will be available for writers to work into various programs when possible to incorporate a beer, neon sign, barware or even a truck with a popular potable’s logo on it. The marketing partnership, devised by Interpublic Group’s Initiative ad-buying firm, starts in March and continues throughout 2013.

MillerCoors products are slated to appear in many original series on TBS and TNT through what Turner said in a prepared statement would be “responsible product integration and set dressing.” Industry standards call for brewers to place ads only on those shows where most of the viewership — a little more than 70% — is 21 or older.

Already, Blue Moon is slated to appear in “Rizzoli & Isles” when it starts its fourth season in June. Coors Light and other MillerCoors beverages will be featured in the bar that is a regular setting on TBS’s “Sullivan & Son.” Miller Lite will appear in the current season of TNT’s “Dallas.” Coors Light and Blue Moon are both scheduled to appear in TNT’s “Franklin & Bash.”

Miller 64 and Miller Lite are both expected to appear in a new TNT competition series, “The Hero,” which starts in June. Additional series that could feature paid placements of MillerCoors product include TNT’s “Perception,” “Major Crimes” and “King & Maxwell” and TBS’s “Deon Cole’s Black Box.”

The agreement “keeps the viewing experience our priority, with writers now able to utilize highly recognizable brands as episodes are developed by naturally integrating them within the show,” said Donna Speciale, president of ad sales and marketing for Turner Entertainment, in a statement.

The pact could represent an aggressive maneuver by MillerCoors, which is eternally locked in a marketing battle with beer rival Anheuser-Busch InBev. A Turner spokeswoman said the deal only grants MillerCoors an exclusive on product integrations into Turner programs, leaving other beer marketers free to advertise. Still, it’s entirely conceivable that Anheuser and others might choose to advertise on shows that do not feature a rival’s products in prominent fashion in storylines and show sets.

When asked if Budweiser might choose to avoid programming featuring MillerCoors products, Scott Bussen, a spokesman for MillerCoors responded, “You’d have to ask them.”

MillerCoors is also separately sponsoring an assortment of programs and platforms across Turner’s properties. While some details are still being developed, those sponsorships will include a custom dare within TruTV’s series “Impractical Jokers” this summer; sponsorship of NASCAR Mobile 2013; enhancements with Miller Lite and Coors Light during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on TNT; and a launch sponsorship with the spring debut of CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” a new series featuring Anthony Bourdain.

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