As the media and entertainment landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, more and more major advertisers are targeting audiences in narrower, more personal ways. Car brands have jumped in with all four wheels, as we’ve seen with Acura partnering with Jerry Seinfeld, Ford with America (Okay, AOL), and now Toyota with a fun snowboard series on Network A.
Toyota signed on as a presenting sponsor to Every Third Thursday, a show by Signal Snowboards’ Dave Lee that mixes snowboarding with a fun hacker ethic to see what’s possible when you want to slide sideways down a hill. Most recently, Lee made a heated snowboard and past episodes include making a disposable paper snowboard and a beer bong snowboard.
Lee says that although Signal Snowboards is a boutique brand even within snowboarding, the show has a broad appeal. “It’s our goal to cross connect snowboarders to a larger audience, and visa versa, through snowboarding and innovative ideas that are integrated into our shows like 3-D printing, alternative materials and sometimes just fun concepts,” he says. “Toyota has backed our philosophy and is helping build the audience as well as providing kick ass transportation for the show.”
Behind the partnership is L.A.-based branded content agency Brand Arc, which has also integrated the automaker into mainstream shows like Modern Family, Top Chef, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Agency senior producer Jason Rowlett says, “We consistently look to partner brands with content creators and innovators. Every Third Thursday, with Dave’s dynamic personality, is a compelling digital series that attracts an audience with an affinity for action sports and is strategically aligned with the 4Runner sensibilities.”
The 4Runner is used exclusively throughout each episode. Lee says authenticity is important and in order for any partnership like this to work, they had to genuinely like the product and be able to utilize it in a useful and fun way. “At the end of the day you want to feel good about the content you’re creating and putting out, and not feel like your compromising or settling in order to make an integration work,” says Lee. “We want to create something new and share it with as many people as we can, to do that you need to be open to new ideas and opportunities.”