Later this month, ESPN’s Jay Harris will be walking viewers through an interactive George Clooney trailer as part of a show about sports.
The network’s flagship program SportsCenter plans to set aside time during a May 21 broadcast for Harris to plug the upcoming Clooney action and adventure film Tomorrowland, by allowing him to seemingly step inside the action.
In a preview, Harris walks around the SC set before finding a pin with markings from the film. When he touches it, the entire set suddenly transforms into a scene from the movie.
Variety reports the show will then transition into a trailer for the film, which is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios, which shares a parent company (The Walt Disney Company) with ESPN.
According to Variety, it is part of a new kind of commercial campaign that ESPN hopes to design for advertisers willing to invest more money, and it may be just the beginning.
ESPN has reportedly offered to help sponsors tailor specific pitches for the last five years, and now other outlets have begun to offer similar services to draw in revenue.
“Our goal is to connect to the fans” and make an ad “feel like the environment they are in,” CreativeWorks vice president Carrie Brzezinski told the site.
Ed Erhardt, president of ESPN’s global customer marketing and sales said the new concept has “clearly resonated with the movie category.”
While ESPN executives reportedly said there is no special financial benefit from allowing Clooney’s film to take over a broadcast because the network and studio share a corporate parent, they do seem aware of a potential backfire from viewers who just want to watch baseball highlights.
According to Brzezinski, execs have taken steps to ensure viewers know they are just seeing a commercial, and the Harris spot will take place as the show is scheduled to go to commercial break.
“I think we know where the lines are,” she clarified. “We don’t do this in every program.”
Clooney’s Tomorrowland will debut May 22. For more information on the film, watch SportsCenter.