Advertisers are helping the History channel turbocharge Car Week, a programming stunt the network expects to become an annual event.
The automotive industry and the TV business have long gone together. TV seasons start in the fall because that when Detroit’s new models were introduced. And automakers remain one of the largest categories in TV advertising. One would expect media buyers to want to kick the tires and check the chrome when History put Car Week on its lot.
In addition to automaker Mitsubishi, History’s Car Week has attracted sponsors with various connections to cars. They include GEICO, Exxon, Midas, Cooper Tires and drive-in restaurant Sonic.
Car Week, which started August 13, is hosted by NASCAR driver Brian Vickers, who is featured in a series of short-form My Life in Cars vignettes, which follow Vickers from the racetrack to city streets with stories about rides that have been significant in his life. Vickers also calls out sponsors over the course of the week.
GEICO will be featured in custom short-form content using a first-car theme. The content was created by 45th and Dean, the in-house agency started by History parent company A+E Networks.
Sonic is also showcased in custom content created by 45th and Dean. The content was shot on location at a Sonic restaurant and features the chain’s “two guys in a car” theme.
Programming is highlighted by the six-hour special The Cars That Made America, which is hosted and executive produced by stock car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Another special, Car Country, runs two hours.
History will also run auto-themed episodes of series including Pawn Stars, American Pickers and Counting Cars.
Cooper Tires products are integrated into Counting Cars.
“We are thrilled to be hitting the road on our inaugural Car Week with such a great lineup of partners,” said Peter Olsen, executive VP, ad sales at A+E Networks. “With new programming launching alongside car-themed episodes of History most popular hits, Car Week builds on History’s strong reputation with car-obsessed fans. We couldn’t be happier to have an array of both endemic and non-endemic partners, who have all been integrated into the programming in authentic and creative ways. This level of sponsor engagement certainly bodes well for making Car Week an annual tradition for History.”
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.