Lonelygirl15, the pseudo-video diary that became a YouTube phenomenon last year, has signed its first major product placement deal with Hershey’s for its Icebreakers Sours Gum brand.
In a video posted on March 20 on the official Lonelygirl site, Lg15.com, the show’s main character Bree is seen offering her friends a piece of Icebreaker’s gum, and a closeup of the product is shown. The sponsored episode of scripted teen drama is slated to eventually be featured on YouTube and other video-sharing sites in the near future, said officials.
This level of product integration marks one of the more sophisticated examples of branded entertainment to emerge from the rapidly-evolving world of amateur-created online video. The deal was initiated by the Dallas, Texas-based agency TracyLocke. Ad sales were handled directly by the agents from Creative Artists Agency who represent the Lonelygirl creators. "It’s empowering for us to have major international brand like Hershey’s treat us like they would any other major entertainment property," says Greg Goodfried, Lonelygirl15co-creator. "Deals like this are good for the community – they help us pay our operating expenses, which has been an ongoing struggle."