The 30 minute advert soon a reality? Or is it already here?

Alec tipped us to this rather vague MSNBC story that seems to announce the thirty minute commercial - programs created around sponsors products.

Digital Studio's first productions, which will premiere this summer, are a science-fiction series starring Rosario Dawson called "Gemini Division" and a quirky comedy about a college-aged zombie called "Woke Up Dead," said NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.

If we take a minute to think about this, we know that the commercial-as-program on broadcast TV rather than the web is already here. Take Americas Next Top Model which exports around the world for example, all those fancy prizes the models get are edited out when you watch the show here in Sweden simply because covergirl can't be bought around here (nevermind that in-program advertising is a legal nightmare around here).

Then there's the "hit MySpace personality" Dan Fielding a.k.a ‘Domestic God’, the character who built up an online following with thousands of fans tuning into his video clips on domestic life. The project, which began in February 2007, has been revealed as an experiment to assess the potential for a new TV show. Electrolux, who are behind Dan's persona he's actually played by actor James Rawlings, are now in talks with several broadcasters to develop a series. Electrolux weren't hiding behind Dan though, they sprinkled many clues around - for example:

  • Dan’s slogan on MySpace is “thinking of you”. This is also the Electrolux slogan.
  • Dan is wearing an apron with the Electrolux logo on it in all his clips (but with a bit of tape across the first few letters).
  • Many of Dan’s blogs include photo montages to illustrate his tips. Many of the pictures include close ups of Electrolux products and the AEG/Electrolux logo. For example, the Gas on Glass Hob and the Steam Oven.
  • Electrolux products also feature in the background to many shots, such the Electrolux outdoor gas BBQ and the Ergo Rapido vacuum cleaner.

    Also, Dan Fielding started life as the main character in the Electrolux commissioned 2005 novel "Men in Aprons" by Alex Mattis, which told the story of a man who turned his domestic life around after his girlfriend left him.

    So why would Dan be good as a TV show, one might ask. So we do - why a TV show?
    “We feel we really have something unique here – as Dan himself puts it in one of his clips – there are plenty of people who can tell you how to cook, but how many can tell you how to remove wax from a tie – or avoid a tumble drying disaster? And how many are really looking at this from a young guy’s point of view”, said Ulrich Gartner, VP, Communications Europe at Electrolux .

    Back to Digital Studios first show ideas, "Gemini Division" already has big brands wanting to play that game:

    Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are among the first brands involved with the development of "Gemini Division," the statement said.

    What's next? Johnnie Walker's travel show which goes to exotic locations to prove that it is indeed the most widely distributed brand of Scotch whisky in the world? Cartoons based on toys - wait, we've already done that with Transformers and My little Pony's. The line between advertising and content has forever been blurred and you can't get the toothpaste back in the tube.

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