MAFS sponsors unveiled, but reunion specials unlikely to become fixtures

Ahead of tonight’s launch, Nine has announced its slate of sponsors for the eighth season of Married at First Sight, and told Mumbrella that while the recent reunion specials were like a “snack before the main course”, they won’t become a regular fixture.

Returning advertisers include Bupa, KFC, Lion, Suzuki, Tradie and Youfoodz, while Nine has also signed on new sponsors in Specsavers, Disney+, Snooze, Menulog, and Mypaynow.

“Powered had been involved in various different elements for each of them, whether that is working with them on what their product integration into the actual show might be, or whether we worked with them, for example, creatively through Powered Studios, producing integrated TVCs for them,” director of Nine’s Powered, Liana Dubois, told Mumbrella.

“For example, the work that’s being done with Specsavers in their ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ format, where we’re creating a bespoke TVC for them using the wedding aisle and the alter setting.

“I won’t spoil it ahead of launch night, but a really, really cute piece of creative … as two strangers appear at the altar together.”

Specsavers will also sponsor Nine’s online dinner party gallery, Snooze’s broadcast sponsorship will focus on the bedrooms, Youfoodz and Tradie have integrations, Lion is the official alcohol supplier and Suzuki the official auto sponsor, Menulog will digitally sponsor the ‘Martha’s Red Wine Moments’ content series, and Mypaynow is set to launch its first TV campaign alongside the series.

Disney+ will launch its new brand Star – a hub within the streaming service, housing content meant for an adult audience – with branded play outs directing viewers to the MAFS website, where they can watch unseen content, while KFC will launch a new campaign built on the ‘Fried Side of Life’ messaging.

“Now in our fifth consecutive year partnering with MAFS, you could say we’re the longest-lasting couple from the show,” quipped KFC’s chief marketing officer, Kristi Woolrych.

“We’re thrilled to ‘put a wing on it’ again and leverage our new “Fried Side of Life” campaign to viewers through the program. Our campaign focuses on living in the moment without judgement and from the looks of the MAFS preview, we feel this is the perfect fit.”

Digital only sponsors include Estee Lauder and Ebay, while Lotterywest; RAC in Perth have also signed on. Dubois confirmed “there has been a growing trend in recent years to leverage the capability of our creative and production studio”.

“Once you get into season eight of these sorts of formats, the popularity of them with advertisers and therefore the number of sponsors that you are working with does just naturally grow,” she added.

“That’s true of any format, but Married at First Sight is its own unique platform because it is so beloved by the viewing audience.

“There is a real recognition from advertisers about the power of that audience and the depth of engagement that they can leverage as a result of that.”

MAFS has become a ratings powerhouse for Nine, regularly attracting more than a million viewers across the five capital cities. Last season premiered to 1.15 million metro viewers – the show’s largest ever launch – and the finale pulled 1.48 million.

The TV network’s head of content production and development, Adrian Swift, noted that “we tried to cast it with a less extreme bunch” this season, but wouldn’t be drawn on a launch ratings prediction.

“I don’t think we’re going to talk numbers,” he said. “I think it will do well. It will be the dominant show in its time slot. I’ve seen the first 20 episodes this year. It is a sensational series, probably one of the best we’ve ever made. It will rate like steam, how much steam, I don’t know yet, but it’ll rate well.”

To plug a scheduling gap created by the delay of the Australian Open, Nine produced a two part reunion special, in addition to a domestic season of Travel Guides and a number of special Who Wants to be a Millionaire? episodes.

The reunion episodes featured past contestants, including Cyrell Paule

Airing on consecutive nights, the episodes attracted 866,000 and 781,000 metro viewers (behind Holey Moley’s launch on Seven to 983,000), respectively. And while program director, Hamish Turner, said Nine was “thrilled” with the specials’ performance, Swift said he doesn’t “think we’d make it a regular thing, but we never say never”.

“The specials were good, they were kind of a snack before the main course. So it was good for us to get back on people’s agendas, because a year is a very long time in television,” he explained.

“We were actually probably going to make sure that this season went out and we were going to do one, regardless, but because of the tennis, we kind of rushed it, we pulled that one together.

“I don’t think it’s a regular thing. I think it’s one of those things where, when you get people who want to take part, and we had a critical mass of people, ex participants, who we were talking to, and we thought ‘Yeah, okay. Given that we’ve now got some air time, why don’t we do it now?'”

MAFS’ eighth season will launch tonight at 7:30pm, up against Seven’s Holey Moley – which has declined since its strong launch – and The Amazing Race on Ten.


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