'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' gets animated

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NEW YORK -- Unilever launched a new animated Web series Wednesday to promote its I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! and Wish-Bone spray brands.

The five-episode series, entitled "Sprays in the City," taps into consumer fascination with celebrity gossip and online video blogging and tells the story of Spritzy, the "feisty" Wish-Bone salad dressing spritzer, and Spraychel, the "captivating" I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray, Unilever said.

The webisodes star Mark McGrath ("Extra") , Tim Gunn ("Project Runway") and Fabio.

"In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, we must find new and unique ways to reach our consumer," Unilever vp and GM Mike Bauer said. "It's important to be innovative in the digital age. These two brands are joining forces to not only engage consumers but entertain them and keep them tuned in."

Unilever is promoting the series with a 30-second TV spot that mimics celebrity news shows and is running on cable networks including Bravo, VH1 and E! Its print ad parodies celebrity magazine "Hot or Not"-type lists and will appear in People, In Touch, Star, US Weekly and TV Guide. The webisodes also are supported via targeted advertising on such key celebrity gossip sites and blogs as PerezHilton, PopSugar and the Superficial.

Viewers of the Web series, which can be seen at www.spraysinthecity.com, will be invited to vote on the outcome of a cliffhanger at the end of each episode. The next week they can tune back in to see which ending won. Participating viewers can win one of five $100 gift cards daily and have the chance to win a $10,000 grand prize shopping spree and a trip for two to New York, Unilever said.

Subscribers of DirecTV and Cablevision also can watch the webisodes via an interactive TV channel.

Unilever previously aired an animated Web series with the Spraychel character in August 2005 and July 2006 but is adding the Wish-Bone brand and the Spritzy character to this latest series. Story Worldwide did the animation for all three series.
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