September 23, 2005 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
Following the success of Oprah’s 19th Season Premier last fall and Donald Trump’s boardroom in “The Apprentice” last spring, Pontiac is again stepping out with a major media partner – CBS’ “Survivor” – in surprising fashion for the launch of its new Pontiac Torrent SUV.
“While many companies place their product in a show, this time we’ve sort of placed the show in our product,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Pontiac marketing director.
Six former Survivors from the hit CBS television show will hit the “urban jungle” in Pontiac Torrents during the launch of “Survivor Search in the City” on the top-rated reality show, ‘Survivor: Guatemala – The Maya Empire’. The participating Survivor celebrities include many popular characters from top urban areas: “Boston Rob” Mariano in Boston (Survivor: Marquesas/Survivor: All Stars), Rupert Boneham in Chicago (Survivor: Pearl Islands/Survivor: All Stars), Jerri Manthey in Los Angeles (Survivor: The Australian Outback), Ethan Zohn in New York (Survivor: Africa), Gervase Peterson in Philadelphia (Survivor: Borneo) and Erin Collins in Texas (Survivor: Thailand).
Pontiac, along with marketing partner Leo Burnett Detroit and CBS, is launching the promotion, a fully integrated, viral effort incorporating the six former Survivors who will drive new Torrents as they go about their daily life over the coming weeks in their home cities and local regions. Consumers will be asked to find one of them, and snap a picture of them with their Torrent on their camera phone. They can immediately transmit the image for a chance to win five, fully-loaded, 2006 Pontiac Torrents, what Pontiac is calling “Torrents for your tribe.”
Photos may also be submitted from digital cameras (via email) or by postal mail through November 6.
“This promotion represents one of the most creative executions of a sponsor promotion we have ever had in association with the Survivor brand,” said Anne O’Grady, Executive Vice President, CBS Marketing. “Survivor has one of the most passionate audiences on TV, consistently ranking it in the top ten in viewership every week.”
GM research shows that the Survivor audience is 25% more likely than other prime time shows to talk about the program. “Because we’re working with the enhanced enthusiasm of the audience, this promotion becomes naturally viral,” said Richer.
In fact, fans who get pictures can spread them to friends who can also submit them. Further, the ex-Survivors themselves will keep daily blogs about their experiences and whereabouts with their Torrents which consumers can access at cbs.com. Photos will also likely spread at each Survivor’s website and fan websites. (Reality TV Magazine has included a photo of Rob Mariano with his Torrent at the bottom of this article.)
Fifteen second TV billboards on ‘Survivor:Guatemala – The Maya Empire’ will drive consumers to the promotion during each week’s broadcast in addition to web advertising through portals like Yahoo! and AOL.
The Torrent is also the sole automotive product placed in ‘Survivor: Guatemala The Maya Empire’. While it is an SUV, it is sleekly styled and designed with more agility, more for the urban jungle than an actual one.