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Has Jeopardy Jeopardized Its (Own) Brand?

While it is the epitome of the convergence of the advertising and entertainment worlds, one has to wonder if IBM’s brilliant Watson initiative has discredited the Jeopardy brand. Last night after seven minutes of background, new game guidelines and several promotional cutaways, I wondered if the Jeopardy franchise hadn’t jeopardized its own established brand by selling or giving its co-branding rights to IBM. As a marketer, I give kudos to IBM but as a Jeopardy viewer, I felt ripped off. It was like I was watching an innovative infomercial. (Should it have been marked “Paid-Programming” to warn the viewers?)

While it is the epitome of the convergence of the advertising and entertainment worlds, one has to wonder if IBM’s brilliant Watson initiative has discredited the Jeopardy brand.

As the CEO of an ad agency that merges classic strategic marketing with state-of-the-art digital Public Relations, Advertising and entertainment solutions I am also a relatively new Jeopardy viewer.

I’d learned within one minute on normal shows (the time it takes to feed my cat), Alex Trebek is asking the first question.

Last night after seven minutes of background, new game guidelines and several promotional cutaways, I wondered if the Jeopardy franchise hadn’t jeopardized its own established brand by selling or giving its co-branding rights to IBM.

Strategic alliance programs are Domus, Inc.’s forte (ConAgra, Fisher-Price, Caesars Entertainment) but NOT if they dilute brand power. They must be carefully developed to be a WIN-WIN-WIN (i.e. equal wins for each brand, in this case Jeopardy and IBM and the third win is a synergistic path for the viewer).

As a marketer, I give kudos to IBM but as a Jeopardy viewer, I felt ripped off. It was like I was watching an innovative infomercial. (Should it have been marked “Paid-Programming” to warn the viewers?)

A brand is valuable. Successful co-promotions must add to the value of the brand while simultaneously maintaining the brand’s individuality.

That’s elementary, my Dear Watson and in this case my dear Alex.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?

Betty Tuppeny is the CEO and founder of Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact Betty directly at betty.tuppeny@domusinc.com or 215-772-2805.

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