CMT’s Nashville Integrates New Ad Technique


Several months ago, I sat alone watching a TV show on CMT called Nashville. I will be the first to admit that it is not the type of show that I would normally watch; However, that is besides my point for today.

(Disclaimer: The following content discusses events that have occurred in CMT’s Nashville, if you wish to watch the show unspoiled, just beware of what you read.)

One Thursday night over the summer, I was in the middle of watching the newest episode of Nashville when I came across something very revolutionary pertaining to advertising. Before I tell you what that is, let me first define something for you. What is Native Advertising?

According to Sharethrough, “native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

Ordinarily, native advertising comes in the form of in-feed ads, promoted listings, content recommendation widgets, and custom content units. However, what you are about to see is very different in style, but the core concept is relative to native advertising. The form that this example has taken is in the form of video.

If you are not familiar with the TV show Nashville, it is a heartwarming drama surrounding the lives of various musicians trying to make it in the country music business. One record label has invited Zack, a tech mogul who has an interest in the country music business, to help keep things running smoothly. Zack and his team pitched an idea of artist-brand partnerships, much like athlete-brand partnerships. Will Lexington, one of the artists on the label, was the first one approached by a company – the brand being, Budweiser. Now that I have given you a brief background, I will let you just watch the scene, then I will continue my train of thought.

Okay, you are wondering, “So what?” Well, as streaming becomes more relevant and commercials become ever more unwatched, I realize a demand for new techniques in presenting ads in streaming services. The catch is, however, they will not be presented in the usual we-will-be-right-back-after-this-quick-break fashion. The key is to implement advertising within television shows themselves. Essentially, viewers will not realize that they have just watched a commercial, which is almost, if not exactly, a type of native advertising.

Consequently, there are several issues surrounding this approach, one of which being that the show Nashville just happens to be the perfect platform for that kind of rollout. But, the concept does seem to have some potential. For the folks interested in advertising and innovative ways to communicate them, this is definitely something to keep your eye on in the future.

Ben Yerby