Mini Gets Maximum Exposure on Esquire

The upcoming episode of Car Matchmaker on NBCUniversal’s Esquire Network will feature three different vehicles from Mini as part of a sponsorship deal with the automaker.

The Sept. 21 episode be the first time the show, which helps a driver select the car that fits him best, features a single auto brand.

Mini USA, a unit of BMW of North America, put out a request for proposal looking for a way to showcase its car to sophisticated customers as a premium brand. Matchmaker was a perfect fit, according to Laura Molen, executive VP, lifestyle advertising sales, NBCUniversal.

The show attracts the kind of male audience rarely seen outside of sports networks. It also draws auto enthusiasts. And Esquire channel viewers are younger and more affluent than the average for cable and more likely to share information they get via social media, she said.

Car Matchmaker is the ultimate opportunity for auto brands to showcase their vehicles to highly engaged audiences,” said Molen. “This partnership demonstrates the ability of the NBCUniversal portfolio to align any brand and their contextually relevant messaging with premium content.”

Before Mini’s dedicated episode airs, Esquire will run a custom-made 30-second vignette to drive awareness and branded promos to drive tune in. Content from the show will be distributed over digital and social platforms using NBC’s Social Synch facility.

Both the show and the vignette carry a “brought to you by Mini” banner so viewers are aware that Mini is an advertiser.

Mini will also be featured on two in-show billboards. UM, the media agency handling the sponsorship for Mini, has also bought a schedule on the network.

During the episode, host Spike Feresten introduces viewers to the unique features of three vehicles from Mini: The Mini Clubman, with split rear doors; the sporty Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop and the Mini Countryman.

“We are proud of the ongoing success of Car Matchmaker as a fan favorite series on Esquire Network,” said Matt Hanna, executive VP, original programming at Esquire Network. “The show allows Spike to highlight vehicles from classic cars to motorcycles to Earthroamers - and everything that is drivable in between. Viewers love to see not only the car selections and test drives, but also love tapping into Spike’s humor and expertise to learn more about the wide range of cars that they’re so passionate about.”

Car Matchmaker is in its third season. Other episodes this season will feature a former NFL player whose taste for luxury hasn’t retired and an art director looking for a motorcycle with a side car for his dog.

Jon Lafayette

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.