Updated, Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8:51 a.m. PT.
ABC’s Black-ish concluded a season-long brand integration with Microsoft on Wednesday night. Several of the series stars appear in a 60-second branded content spot for the Seattle-based tech company, reports Adweek.
In the spot, series star Anthony Anderson—whose character in the show, Dre, works for the Stevens & Lido ad agency—appears with his co-workers Charlie (Deon Cole), Josh (Jeff Meacham) and Mr. Stevens (Peter McKenzie). The foursome are sitting around a table, brainstorming ideas for a new campaign for the Microsoft Surface.
The spot feels like it’s drawn from the show, with Anderson appearing in the same clothes that he’s wearing in the scene that airs just before the ad break. The four actors also appear together in three digital spots—one is featured below—currently airing on ABC’s digital and social media platforms.
ABC’s integrated marketing team and the creative staff of Black-ish worked closely with Microsoft on the season-long partnership, which included placing Microsoft products in the program. Microsoft’s media and advertising agencies also participated, including Dentsu Aegis’ Empower Media, branded content agency The Story Lab and McCann’s m:united.
“We have wanted to do something like this for a while but needed to find the right partner. It can’t just be a one-way thing,” Jeffrey Weinstock, VP and creative director at ABC Integrated Marketing, told Adweek. “Microsoft was the perfect partner in this, understanding the storytelling, the entertaining aspect of what we do, has to come first. We approached this as what’s best for the viewers at home is going to be the most entertaining.”
The spots all were written and produced by Black-ish’s team, however.
“We defer to the show on the characters. It’s their baby, and we don’t want to ever think that we can write for them. We pitched the idea to them first and said, ‘Do you like this concept?’ And they’ll say, ‘Yes, and how about this?’ And we hone in on exactly what it’s going to be,” said Weinstock.
The partnership was developed between ABC Sales, Microsoft Media and Advertising and its agencies including Dentsu Aegis’ Empower Media, branded content agency The Story Lab and McCann’s m:united. Creative was developed and produced by ABC Integrated Marketing in conjunction with the show.
Black-ish‘s showrunners Kenya Barris and Jonathan Groff have always been open to brand integration, Adweek notes, with Buick appearing in seasons one and two and State Farm Insurance integrated into an episode in season two.
READ MORE: Adweek
[Cube image courtesy of ABC via Adweek]