'Kimmel' Grabs Bud Light

Concert series and live spots part of new sponsorship
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While the industry is keeping close eyes on branded integrations for the new Jay Leno Show, another talk show host has just landed a new on-air partner. Bud Light and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live have struck a wide-ranging deal that will see the beer brand sponsor the show's concert series and be featured in a series of live commercials. The deal replaces Kimmel's previous concert series sponsor, General Motors' Pontiac, a brand that has been discontinued.

Sources with knowledge of the deal value the arrangement at about $5 million through the end of 2010. That is down from the approximate $6 million annual price tag on the Pontiac sponsorship, with the modest drop attributed not only to a typical recession-induced pricing decrease but also to the brand taking a slightly smaller integration presence. ABC declined to comment on pricing.

Kimmel opened ABC's upfront in May with a slew of strong but hilarious comments about product placement and the advertising business. It appears that Budweiser executives appreciated Kimmel's honesty. “If you pay enough, your product can kill Dr. Izzie on Grey's Anatomy,” he joked. Then he told ad agency buyers, “Who cares? It's not your money. Just give it to us.”

In a statement provided to B&C, Keith Levy, VP of marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said, “We've had a presence on late-night television for some time now, and believe sponsorships like this one create talk value among beer-drinking consumers.”

Bud Light will sponsor a series of outdoor concerts on a new custom-built festival stage in Hollywood and will also be a part of performances on the show's indoor lobby stage. The concert series begins Sept. 29 with Alice in Chains appearing on the Bud Light Stage.

The live commercials are expected to highlight a series of special events that Bud Light is planning throughout the year. Interestingly, given Kimmel's young male audience, reps for the show say there are no online components to the deal.

Doug DeLuca, co-executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live, said in a statement: “As the number-one-selling beer in the world, Bud Light has an illustrious pedigree with its loyal consumers, and this partnership will provide our viewers with even more opportunities to enjoy one-of-a-kind musical experiences.” Jimmy Kimmel Live is produced by Jackhole Industries in association with ABC Studios.

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