My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

The Real Thing

Can reality shows bring in the dough for your company?
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

From the challenges on Survivor to the makeovers on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, reality shows dominate the airwaves--and can mean huge exposure for a company appearing in such shows. Sales of GM's Pontiac Solstice, for example, spiked after the car was featured on The Apprentice. But can entrepreneurial companies get in on the action, too?

Absolutely, says Devery Holmes, president and chief marketing officer of Norm Marshall & Associates, an entertainment marketing firm in Los Angeles. "Integration into reality TV programming offers small brands a unique opportunity to reach a large audience."

Entrepreneur Troy Sears found that to be true when his yacht-chartering company, Next Level Sailing, was featured prominently on the San Diego season of MTV's The Real World, which aired in 2004. He contracted with producers to employ the show's cast on his America's Cup yachts. "From the moment the show aired, we went from being in the red to being in the black," recalls Sears, 43. "Our revenue tripled, and we [started] taking reservations from 43 states and seven countries." Today, annual sales are well over $500,000.

Even though Sears didn't initially seek out the opportunity (MTV came to him when scouting out the San Diego area), he discussed the minute details of the contract with producers in advance. And be mindful of the camera. Says Sears, "As long as you control your own conduct, [the editors] can't portray you as something you don't want to be."

That media awareness and seamless integration into a reality show is key, says Ira Mayer, publisher of the Entertainment Marketing Letter, an industry newsletter. "This needs to be organic," he says. "[Your involvement] shouldn't disrupt a program or look foolish, or it ceases to have value."

More from Entrepreneur

Terry's digital marketing expertise can help you with campaign planning, execution and optimization and best practices for content marketing.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur