Automotive TV Programming


Audi gets Modern -- ABC/Richard Foreman

What the heck! I thought I was watching television programs, however, as of late, I’ve been mistaken. What I thought were TV shows actually were full-sized car commercials.  And this practice is driving me crazy!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve learned about Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium by watching CBS’ “The Amazing Race.” I saw works of art created from Fiat 500 parts on Bravo TV’s “Work of Art.” I watched Bravo’s “Top Chef: Texas” contestants get to know each other better on a car trip in Toyota Siennas and on ABC’s “Modern Family,” the Audi A8 is the car that patriarch, Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) drives.

Are car manufacturers getting smarter about advertising and/or television companies getting dumber about integrated content?

My answer to that question is car makers and TV companies both win in this new form of content integration. Consumers, as usual, are on the losing end.

Ford and "The Amazing Race" Segment of Fun

Do you think that those of us who watched Ford’s Mustang challenge on “The Amazing Race,” didn’t for one minute not realize what a great commercial that was? I have to admit it was an entertaining segment and it was interesting to see this exclusive test track…but the whole time I watched it I knew it was also a commercial message. A very clever and I suppose an expensive one too. Here’s a clip of it so you can see for yourself.

Two years ago the state of the American Auto Industry was dire. Now, it appears that the Industy has full wallets again and is rebounding nicely, so much so that they now own the TV airwaves! Talk about a 360 degree flip. It’s the media companies now who can’t bring in the dough that they used to due to new distribution platforms. They now NEED advertisers like car manufacturers to help them pay their bills.

Will it pay off? I guess the proof is at the dealerships.  Are more people buying Audi’s because they want the car Jay drives? Are people buying Fiat’s because they liked the car parts in “Work of Art?”

At the end of the day, it is all about eyeballs. And by a Toyota Sienna being seen on “Top Chef” episode is probably a larger audience that would see a regular commercial that gets played over and over and over that our minds just tune them out. For me personally, I am over that Prius holiday commerical-I’ve seen it too many times for my own good and I’m a Prius driver.

At the end of the day – WE’RE ON TO YOU TV COMPANIES AND CAR MAKERS! Let’s hope that this trend doesn’t continue for it will wreck great shows like BBC’s “Top Gear,” a true car show. I mean, after a while, they all will start to look the same.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve noticed the uptick in TV car integration and what you think about it all.

Off to watch more Car TV Programming. How about you?


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2 thoughts on “Automotive TV Programming

  1. I saw the Ford commercial—I mean the Amazing Race Episode. I found it offensive. I really hate this invasive advertising that happens in shows now. Placement is one thing, outright scripted promotion is another. The only time I’ve seen it done right was in Modern Family’s iPad episode. The worst offenders: Hawaii Five-O. The only thing that made the Amazing Race’s Ford episode tolerable was that the guys won new cars from it. Otherwise, I was annoyed by how much the show pandered to Ford for that whole show.

  2. Richard – I always appreciate your viewpoints and this time, like the others you are spot on. Happy Holidays my dear friend. And thank you for your support.

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