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From the product integration file: Canadian 5th Grader ‘brainier’ than US version

There's been a lot of talk about the possibilities of product placement and sponsorship integration in programming that attracts kid viewers, but the deal worked out between Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? and Nintendo may be taking things to a whole new level.
October 26, 2007

There’s been a lot of talk about the possibilities of product placement and sponsorship integration in programming that attracts kid viewers, but the deal worked out between Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? and Nintendo may be taking things to a whole new level.

When the Canadian format made its debut on the country’s airwaves last night, viewer-engaging differences between it and the original US version that’s a hit on Fox were evident from the get-go.

The format enhancements sprang from a sponsorship Starcom MediaVest brokered for Nintendo Wii, explains the agency’s Toronto, Canada-based strategy director, Shauna Chan. While Canadian 5th Grader was in development this summer, a deal was worked out for Nintendo’s ‘Big Brain Academy Zone’ to sponsor the series’ $25,000 grand prize question.

Since then, integration innovations have been developed into what amounts to a showcase for the client’s product. ‘Nintendo’s Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree is all about increasing your brain weight in a fun, innovative and educational way,’ says Chan. ‘So partnering with a show featuring seven of the biggest brains in Canada seemed to be a no-brainer.’

From the cross-Canada casting process on, she says that every part of her agency’s involvement with Canadian 5th Grader was customized to achieve Nintendo’s key objective of getting families to experience gaming on a Wii console. Collaborating in the developments were Toronto-based Insights Production and Inventa.

In each ep, the pint-sized panelists will be seen warming up for the show by playing Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree in the green room. When the broadcast begins, ‘Mii’ avatars that were created to resemble each of the kids will appear beside each student’s name and on the show’s microsite with their profiles, which include their ‘Nintendo brain weights.’

The final element of Nintendo’s integration is a text-to-win challenge that goes beyond a typical contest by using screen shots of the Big Brain Academy game in action. Viewers will be shown one of the game’s actual challenges and asked to call in their answers – thus virtually getting the chance to experience game play.

From Media in Canada

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