The secret to the best integrations is all about who you know, according to Lyft director of entertainment marketing Ari Avishay.
"At its core, it's a relationship-based industry," he explained. "People want to work with people they know and trust."
Avishay, who was previously a marketing executive at CAA, heads up Lyft's efforts to develop their brand through entertainment. Recently, he helped broker Lyft's integration into Marvel's "Runaways," which streams on Hulu. Producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage approached Lyft after they noticed actress Nico Minoru, who plays Lyrica on the show, taking a Lyft to work every day, Avishay said.
It worked with "Black-ish" in a fourth-season episode, where Rhonda (Raven-Symoné) becomes a Lyft driver to make ends meet. Her brother Dre (Anthony Anderson) eventually has to call and cancel 12 Lyfts in order to get her to have a heart-to-heart conversation, which happens in the front seats as she drives for the ride-share company.
"I'm fortunate to work with a brand with morally-driven initiatives… It really increases the opportunities we have from a value perspective," Avishay said.
Though Lyft does try "non-traditional" advertising, it's willing to still buy traditional commercials. For example, it bought ads from Hulu to surround the Lyft product placement in "Runaways."
"It's less about the notion of, 'Is the 30-second spot going away?' Yes or no," Avishay said, right before he headed out to a meeting with Netflix about potential Lyft integrations. "The notion we're taking is we're attracting eyeballs rather than interrupting. The interrupting commercial may be ending, but that isn't to say there isn't a place for traditional advertising."
Likewise, KFC isn't moving away from commercials, but they are shifting their mix of what advertising they buy and are focusing on creating commercials that can be shared online widely. Its current commercials also feature a rotating cast of different notable actors playing the Colonel, including Norm McDonald, Reba Mcentire, and George Hamilton.
In the ultimate brand integration, KFC created the KFC Colonel Rumble in January where WWE wrestlers competed for the title while dressed in variations of the Colonel's outfit. Out of nowhere, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair appears dressed in a white suit and feathered robe to win the match. The pre-taped segment was shown during the actual Royal Rumble, which was then broadcast to audiences watching to the pay-per-view event.
"KFC: It's finger licking WOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Flair concludes the segment, a modification of his signature catchphrase.