Having just aired the fifth title in their movie-production partnership, Procter & Gamble and Walmart also announced that they’ll be delivering one made-for-TV movie to American families about every other month for the rest of the year.
A year after the two giants of their industries placed their first co-produced Family Movie Night production on NBC, P&G and Walmart have pronounced viewer interest and consumer acceptance strong enough for them to keep the franchise going.
Their fifth co-funded movie, Truth Be Told, debuted on Saturday night on Fox, starring Candace Cameron Bure and David James Elliott, among others, and including a musical performance by Danny Gokey of American Idol fame and a cameo by NFL star Kurt Warner.
Some might call it insipid, but it's the kind of fare that the companies said largely was missing from television before they struck up their entertainment partnership a couple of years ago.
The Family Movie Night franchise grew out of movies and other TV programming that have been funded over the years by the Family Friendly Programming Forum (now called the Alliance for Family Entertainment), representing more than 40 members including Walmart, P&G, Johnson & Johnson and fellow members of the American Association of Advertisers.
"At Walmart, we're committed to delivering more quality family entertainment options to parents across the country, and our Family Movie Night in partnership with P&G is an anchor to our broader program," said Stephen Quinn, Walmart U.S. chief marketing officer, in a press release about the continuation of Family Movie Night. "Most importantly, it's something we know our customers want. It's also important to the growth of our business, and is one more way we can deliver on our promise to help our customers live better."
How do they know their customers want it? Research conducted by the ANA's family programming alliance showed that vast swaths of the American public wanted more “family-friendly” TV to watch as a family, which P&G and Walmart say indicates that viewers reward them in part with higher fealty to their brands – and better sales results.
While getting uneven reception critically, the movies have fared well enough ratings-wise – in the top three in their time slots, even on weekend nights – that P&G and Walmart have doubled down. Typically, they are the sole advertisers around the broadcast, although they’ve let a few others in. And there are product-placement opportunities galore.
Next up: Field of Vision scheduled for June 11 on NBC – with other movies slotted for NBC on August 6, September 3 and in December.
No word at this point on whether the two brand marketers indeed will take the next logical step in their partnership, at which they have hinted in the past: producing a TV-series pilot based on one of the movies, a move which would echo past programming that resulted from the ANA's efforts, most notably The Gilmore Girls.