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"Into the Fire" gets it right

Posted by: Burth Helm on October 4, 2006

Marketers risk coming off like hucksters when they produce their own content (a practice we’re seeing more and more of, as I wrote about last spring). But I think this one from Fireman’s Fund Insurance strikes the right balance. On October 13 at 8pm, The History Channel will be showing “Into the Fire,” a 90-minute documentary about American firefighters that was conceived, produced, and paid for by the Allianz-owned insurer.

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It will start and end with two 60-second Fireman’s Fund ads, and include spots from the insurer during breaks in the two-hour block (the total cost of production and promotion was around $3 to $5 million, according to CMO Darryl Siry. The company bought advertising on other History Channel programs as part of the deal). In the meantime, the viewer sees a serious documentary by an Oscar-winning director, Bill Couturie, that showcases local firefighters and the tough work they face everyday. They see the serious need for better equipment, something that the insurer donates to local firehouses all around the U.S. through its Heritage Program. And they soberly watch houses burn down, over and over again, as they sit in the comfort of their own home. Not a bad ad for insurance.



News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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