Stella Artois, Chef? How ‘The Bear’ Added in Brand Deals for Season Three

For the third season of FX’s The Bear, don’t be surprised if you see a Stella Artois on one of the restaurant tables (or in a chef’s hands), or perhaps a reference to American Express or its reservation app Resy, which has become a staple of the high-end dining scene.

They are brands that fit in naturally to a show that touches on food, restaurants and family. And they happen to be sponsors of the new season of the FX series, which was created by Chris Storer and stars Jeremy Allen White.

More from The Hollywood Reporter

The Bear has become a bona fide hit for FX, and Disney says that advertisers are responding accordingly. The company says that over 25 sponsors have signed on, including brands in the food categories like Uber Eats, Whole Foods, Talenti and Hellmann’s, but also brands like State Farm, Dell and Chime.

The success of the show is reflected in the roster of brands that want to associated with the program.

“There’s sometimes a wait and see, and there was a bit of a wait and see [ahead of season one]. With season two, there was no more wait and see, everybody across every category wanted to be a part of the show, in some way, shape or form, just wanting to be attached to it,” says John Campbell, senior vp entertainment & streaming solutions for Disney advertising. “Because they knew there were going to be so many eyeballs on it, and others like an Amex Resy or Stella wanted to actually get closer to the talent, the IP and be able to draft off that success.”

As Campbell alluded to, the show’s success has also led to a handful of more brand collaborations, which include custom content that is meant to evoke the show or its plotlines, that feature some characters or actors from the show, or in some cases are integrated into episodes The Bear itself.

Campbell says that Amex, Coca-Cola, Stella Artois and Illumination’s Despicable Me 4 are among the brands signing on for these more elaborate integrations, which are produced in conjunction with FX Current, FX Integrated Marketing and Disney CreativeWorks, as well as Storer’s team in the case of brand integrations.

That includes real-world activations, like Stella Artois’ “Let’s Do Dinner: Summer Series” (with Cory Hendrix, who plays “Sweeps” in the show, participating), or Amex’s Tasting Kitchen Experience, both held in Los Angeles.

The American Express Tasting Kitchen Experience in Los Angeles
The American Express Tasting Kitchen Experience in Los Angeles.

It also includes custom content (including Stella content featuring Hendrix and co-star Abby Elliott), with Campbell noting that the custom spot for Despicable Me 4 plays off a plotline this season involving a restaurant’s ticket machine.

“In the custom spot, the ticket machine keeps producing these tickets, but they keep getting stranger and stranger, so the first one’s like ‘one banana split;’ and then the second one is a ‘cheeseburger, hold the pickle, add banana’; and the third is like ‘taco no meat, just banana,'” Campbell says (the Minions in the franchise love bananas).

And, yes, there are even brand integrations in the show itself, including Stella and Amex. Campbell says that getting such deals across the finish line is complicated. After all, brands and CMOs are notoriously concerned with how their products are portrayed in pop culture, and creatives, like Storer, are focused on the storytelling, and don’t want to distract viewers.

“It is a delicate process, and we take pride in the fact that we find the right brands — did we have more brands coming to us asking to be integrated in the show? Yes — but we needed to find the right brands,” Campbell says. “We work with Chris Storer’s team and our FX team, [FX chief] John Landgraf and marketing in order to make sure: Is it additive to the viewer? Does it make sense to the viewer?

“We’re never looking for a logo slap, especially when we’re talking about in-show integration,” he adds. “So we work really closely in order to make sure that the brands that are participating are authentic to the overall story. That’s why you don’t see like big logos on billboards that we just slap in there.”

Best of The Hollywood Reporter