Univision has novela event for webisodes

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NEW YORK -- Univision has co-developed and co-produced a six-episode novela with Unilever's Caress brand that will become the network's first novela to air on Univision.com. A shortened 90-second version of Episode 1 premieres tonight during Univision's top-rated "Destilando Amor."

The novela, "My Beloved Malena," stars former Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Universe 2005 first runner-up Cynthia Olavarria as a spokesmodel for Caress Exotic Oil Infusions body wash. The brand's marketing messages also are integrated subtlety throughout the four- to six-minute episodes, with characters speaking about the brand's ad slogans "unleashing your exotic side" and "unleashing your mysterious side."

The Web series, part of Caress' ongoing strategy of targeting Latina consumers, will enable viewers to choose from one of two endings for the series at Univision.com.

"No one has done anything like this," Unilever U.S. marketing director Rob Master said. "About a year ago, we sat down and worked with Univision to create a program that was dedicated to and focused on Hispanic females. We landed on the novela, which made a lot of sense. It's a television genre that's important to Hispanic consumers. The characters and story lines connect with what the brand stands for."

Unilever leveraged its media buy with the network to create and air the novela, written by Univision writer/executive producer Alex Hadad. It shared the development and production costs of the series with Univision.

A 90-second clip of the novela will air tonight during telenovela "Destilando," directing viewers to the full episode on Univision.com. For the next five Tuesday nights, 60-second recaps of the previous episode and teasers for the next episode will air during "Destilando." Caress also will promote the series with ad buys on the Univision network, Univision radio stations in the top 25 markets, Univision.com and other female-oriented Latino sites and in print ads in People en Espanol, Mira! and TV Y Novelas as well as a special advertorial partnership with TVNotas to provide weekly story line updates. It also will run a sweepstakes on Univision.com.

The Web series is the second produced by Caress. The first, also for the Exotic Oil Infusions body wash, starred "Grey's Anatomy's" Kate Walsh as narrator of two fairy tale-like webisodes and aired on Caress.com microsite CaressFairytales.com.
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