It was nice while it lasted: MasterChef Australia‘s success partly depended on the relative unobtrusiveness of the advertising on the Ten Network: sure the brand names and plugs were there and Coles was an obviously big supporter in the ad breaks, but it was hard to notice the ads in between the cooking.

Not so the forthcoming celebrity version to be broadcast in October. Production planning is already well underway and today Ten revealed who its sponsors are, and revealed how integrated many of the ads will be. In fact it has all the hallmarks of payoff time for Ten, which had to take lower ad rates from earlier this year for the first series because it was a buyer’s market and the format was untried on free to air TV in this country.

Now it’s a hit and Ten has been knocked down in the rush for gold by eager spruikers.

So viewers will now have to hear the Harvey Norman ‘Go Harvey Go’ refrain that annoys the hell out of viewers, McDonald’s will be telling us of the joys of a new menu (MasterBurgers?), Coles returns (its $10 dollar value meal ideas really stood out in the original series), plus two other advertisers in Jalna yoghurt and Chris’ Dips, which are not exactly the essence of home cooking, having been whipped up in a factory (and the same for Jalna and much of McDonald’s raw materials).

But here’s the nasty bit for viewers. This is how Ten described the association of the sponsors:

Sponsors will leverage their association with the MasterChef brand through tailored on-air and online elements…

The phrase “tailored on-air” elements should bring a shudder to viewers. You may not be able to notice the cooking for the in segment plugs!

Harvey Norman joins the MasterChef franchise as the show’s principal electrical retail Harvey Norman’s sponsorship includes tailored TV commercials and billboards, in-show play-outs featuring kitchen tips and exclusive website content.

McDonald’s joins Celebrity MasterChef as a principal sponsor. Celebrity MasterChef will provide McDonald’s with a valuable platform to launch a new menu item and drive awareness of Ronald McDonald House Charities. The sponsorship covers TV commercials and in-show play-out segments.

Coles extends its successful association with the MasterChef franchise through an on air and online sponsorship of Celebrity MasterChef, as well as a principal sponsorship of the 2010 MasterChef Australia season. Coles will leverage its sponsorship by stocking the Celebrity MasterChef pantry with fresh produce, groceries and bakery items, an inshow meal challenge, play-out and play-in segments between ad breaks and branded website content including recipes.

First-time sponsor, Jalna will promote its yoghurt product range during CelebrityterChef advertising breaks.

Chris’ Dips joins Celebrity MasterChef as a website sponsor, focusing its advertising campaign exclusively within the online space.

Boring and pervasive comes to mind. You won’t be allowed to avoid the advertising, except by changing channels.

Peter Fray

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