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Pantene Taps MTV as Talent Search Partner

NEW YORK — Pantene’s third annual singer-songwriter search could reach a much broader audience this year, now that it has signed a deal giving it the ears of millions of teens to hear its message. <br><br>Pantene Pro-Voice, the nationwide...

NEW YORK — Pantene’s third annual singer-songwriter search could reach a much broader audience this year, now that it has signed a deal giving it the ears of millions of teens to hear its message.

Pantene Pro-Voice, the nationwide talent search sponsored by Procter & Gamble, has partnered with MTV to support its quest for unsigned, female musical talent acts. As in the past two years, since Pro-Voice first began, the contest awards the female winner/winners with the opportunity to tour with an established artist, as well as a demo-recording contract with Atlantic Records, another Pantene Pro-Voice partner. Thanks to the MTV partnership, winners will also receive a trip to the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards and distribution of her/their winning song via the Pantene Pro-Voice CD, which will be created by MTV.

Last year’s contest attracted original music from 1,900 contestants across the country. But with MTV in the mix, many more contestants will likely pump up the competition. According to Jason LaBeach, MTV’s senior director for trade marketing, MTV’s promotional support for contest entry “will be driving contestants to [the Pantene Pro-Voice Web site].” The MTV-created promos begin airing late April.

LaBeach wouldn’t comment on how much MTV is spending to promote the contest, but he explained that “it’s more about [MTV’s] resources than about a dollar figure.”

YM, Pantene’s 2003 magazine partner, will also help drive awareness of the program through a series of promotions and sweepstakes, which launched in the magazine’s April MTV issue.

Pantene, the industry’s largest hair care brand with more than $1 billion in sales, is also driving awareness of the contest. The brand is spending approximately $2 million, according to Seth Klughertz, Pantene’s assistant brand manager. A print campaign in magazines such as YM, Rolling Stone, Teen People and Seventeen is scheduled to run from now until July. Pantene is also promoting in-store events with four million shrink-wrapped download cards on specially marked packages of Pantene shampoo, beginning next week. The card, which is the size of a credit card, will be branded with the Pantene Pro-Voice logo and Web site address, and will give consumers exclusive online access to special offers, free music and Pantene Pro-Voice prizes.

To enter, all applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 24. All are required to write and perform an original song; submit a written copy and recording of the song’s lyrics on tape, CD or MP3, and fill out and submit a completed contest submission form and a photograph between April 1 and May 31.

By August, three finalists will be chosen and flown to Manhattan to compete live in Central Park at the Pantene Pro-Voice Concert, which will also include performances by Vanessa Carlton, Tweet and Lucy Woodward. The winner will be chosen at the concert by a panel of music industry professionals.