Perhaps MTV has stumbled onto a way to generate more revenues from some of its most popular shows.
The cable network gets huge ratings for shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom that garner huge ratings among younger viewers, but because of issues of questionable content, many mainstream advertisers put these shows on their “do not air” list. Millions tuned in to see Snooki and her pals invade Italy earlier this month, but most of the commercials in the show were from movies-a sign that marketers that want to build long lasting reputations are leery of having the brands associated with it.
Earlier this year, MTV aired the series Skins that was notable for the advertisers who announced they wouldn’t be advertising on the show, including Taco Bell, Schick, L’Oreal, Subway, Kraft and even H&R Block. Advertiser reaction and low ratings led to Skins being canceled after a single season.
Now comes word that one youth oriented brand, Abercrombie & Fitch, has offered one of the Jersey Shore stars, Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino compensation if he will stop wearing Abercrombie clothing on the show.
“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image,” Abercrombie & Fitch said in a press release Tuesday. “We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans. We have therefore offered substantial payment to Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and the producers of MTV’s The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand.”
The company added that it has also extended the offer to other members of the cast. “We are urgently waiting a response.”
Seems to me, Abercrombie might not be the only brand willing to pay to keep some of MTV’s characters unwelcome away from its brands. If you’re Apple, do you want Pauly D playing Angry Birds on an iPad? If you’re Lancome, do you want to see Jwoww using your makeup to get ready for a Saturday night smush? If you’re Procter & Gamble, do you want Ronnie using Old Spice? And what automaker wants to see Snooki behind the wheel of its latest model? Hey MTV, opportunity knocks.
An update: MTV called Abercrombie’s move “a clever PR stunt,” adding “we’ve love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television.”