One Brand, One Show

 In Audience Research

As originally seen on InteracTiVoty’s blog at

Take one rugged outdoorsman used to getting his hands dirty, add a slightly spoiled car geek and throw them in the middle of nowhere with just a 4WD vehicle for them to save themselves. It’s Man v. Wild blended with a little bit of Monster Truck and it’s the Discovery Channel’s reality show “One Car Too Far.”Discovery+Networks

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for any kind of programming involving problem solving and cars, so when I saw the promo with what looked to be a Jeep Wrangler, I immediately pressed “record” on my TiVo remote. Full disclosure: I am also a Jeep owner, though mine is the suburban, baseball-coaching Dad model, Jeep Cherokee, and the only wheelies I do these days are in the parking lot. By hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

There’s another reason why the show caught my eye. I’m a brand guy and spotting product placement is my version of the game, Where’s Waldo. “One Car Too Far” looked like a return to the 60’s “Mad Men” days of daytime dramas, when brands like Tide or Dove exclusively produced “soap” operas and were the sole advertiser in the program. We’re seeing a return to that method of brand advertisement, as more companies are turning to creative methods to get their messaging across. Increasingly, major brands are producing exclusive programming to showcase their products as a means to mitigate commercial avoidance experienced when programs are watched in time-shifted mode. In other words, they are recorded and watched back at a later time. The premiere of “One Car Too Far” is no exception with more time-shifted (53%) versus live viewing (47%) as reported by TiVo Research and Analytics, Inc. (TRA).

But wait, hold your horsepower! It turns out that Jeep didn’t produce the show after all. All of the logos and trademarks were scrubbed and the car used in the show is a 10-year-old Jeep Wrangler TJ. It’s unlikely Chrysler would choose to promote their brand with an older model, but guess what? It worked. Based on TRA’s analysis of 19 episodes this season, viewers of “One Car Too Far” are twice as likely to have a Jeep Wrangler parked in their driveway than the average U.S. household (0 .8 rating for Jeep Wrangler owners versus 0.4 for the average household). Taking full advantage of this audience, Jeep ads are all over the show, with the first ad in the commercial break highlighting Jeep Wrangler’s “Leave No Stone Unturned” creative. Next stop for me, the Jeep Wrangler dealership for a test drive…unfortunately on pavement, not the mud bogs.

Greg DePalma is Vice President of Audience Insights at TiVo Inc., where he consults with advertiser, agency, and network clients to increase commercial effectiveness in a DVR world. Greg can be reached at

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