Mystic Tan keys in on 'Real World'

MTV's The Real World: Key West

MTV's The Real World: Key West

Who is your client, and what are its media goals?

Lynaia Lutes: Our client is Mystic Tan, the UV-free, spray-on tanning provider. The company's primary business is manufacturing and distributing tanning booths and products. Because most of its marketing budget is b-to-b outreach, it turned to us for PR when it decided to begin targeting consumers, as well.

What made MTV's The Real World such a great target for your client, and how did you pitch the show's producers?

Lutes: The show reaches a critical audience for Mystic Tan: 16- to 34-year-olds. After building a relationship with the show's producers for years, we pitched our client as they worked on pre-production details for The Real World: Key West. The producers decided it would be a great fit for the house members to put together and run a Mystic Tan salon.

Product placement is increasingly a pay-to-play vehicle. How did you persuade the producers to use Mystic Tan without a fee?

Lutes: Our client had to be relevant to the storyline. The Real World wanted a real business in a sexy vertical, and Mystic Tan fit the bill. For us, frequency made this opportunity unique. Most times, you get product placement for one episode, but this was a season-long integration.

Above and beyond the product placement, were you able to provide other messages regarding Mystic Tan?

Lutes: Mystic Tan was a key part of the story, so the cast learned all aspects of the business. That enabled us to show the products' benefits.

What was the impact of the hit?

Lutes: The Real World: Key West began airing in February and runs through August. Not only has Mystic Tan integrated the hit into its b-to-b and consumer marketing, but traffic on its Web site has gone from the hundreds to more than 1 million per week.

Name: Lynaia Lutes, account supervisor, Blanchard Schaefer Advertising & Public Relations (Arlington, TX)

Placement: MTV's The Real World: Key West

Pitch timeline: 10 months

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