Dragons’ Den auditions entrepreneurs and casts brands

CBC is tailoring brand integration opportunities on the fourth season of the popular pitch-for-investment series.

CBC Television’s reality series Dragons’ Den will be on the road again next week, looking for aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs who want to pitch their ideas to business moguls in season four, launching in October. Makers of the popular series, which in the past has incorporated sponsors like GM, Export Development Canada (EDC) and Purolator, are looking for sponsors to integrate their brands into the new season.

The Dragons’ Den audience has grown by 128% since the first season launched in October 2006, says Julie Bristow, CBC executive director, factual entertainment. Last season’s ratings average was 777,000, with 421,000 falling within the show’s target demo of 25- to 54-year-olds. Bristow says the audience also tends to skew younger than some of CBC Factual Entertainment’s other series. ‘When the dragons go out to public events, university-age people are always well represented. I just think the spirit of entrepreneurism plays to the younger crowd,’ says Bristow.

Incumbent sponsor Cadillac has had a role in the opening for the past three years; multimillionaire dragons (including marketing mogul Arlene Dickinson of Venture Communications) arrive at the studio each year in a different make. A segment called ‘Lessons from the Den’ highlighting business tips was also sponsored by EDC and Purolator, on TV and online. Negotiations with the incumbents are underway, but are not yet confirmed.

‘We try to tailor for what the sponsors needs are,’ Bristow tells MiC. ‘We have the opportunities to say ‘what are your business goals? This is the framework of the show and how can we work together to get your brand in there.”