Burt Reynolds fans know the Bandit delivered the goods in the 1977 hit movie Smokey and the Bandit. But could DIY Network deliver the audience for the Reynolds-starring installment of its Hollywood-meets-DIY series Celebrity Rides? The episode showed Reynolds leading the restoration of a 1977 black and gold Pontiac Trans Am, a clone of his famous Smokey ride. The installment was a perfect fit for DIY’s core male-skewing 25-54 audience and was primed to showcase the network in general. Building on this opportunity, DIY preceded the airing with a contest through which a winner could drive away in a classic Trans Am. A limited budget and DIY’s digital-only universe meant the marketing plan had to be precisely focused. The network’s goals were to build brand perception that DIY is entertaining and informative, bring an element of user-generated content and use off-air forms of communication. It selected social networking site as the vehicle through which contestants could upload video explaining why they deserved to win the car. An intricate campaign combining on-air and online content launched a month before the six-week contest period began. Once the contest started, the marketing team developed off-channel tune-in spots that ran on other networks including Discovery, ESPN and TV Land, and an exclusive interview with Reynolds aired on the syndicated series Extra. Additional marketing material was on-hand at the YearOne Road Atlanta event, where marketers handed out Celebrity Rides postcards, air fresheners and T-shirts. And DIY reached out the day of the premiere with a Comcast IPG feature that reached more than 9 million homes and enabled viewers to set tune-in and/or series recording reminders.

Fast Facts

  • Burt Builds a Bandit doubled viewership among adults 25-54 vs. DIY’s identical 2007 time-slot performance.

  • The Oct. 19 airing of the five-part series was the highest rated, averaging 92,000 adults (25-54).

  • The contest generated 104 user-generated video submissions on; DIY’s partnership with resulted in more than 14.4 million impressions.


Honorable Mentions:

CNN for Planet in Peril Affiliate Screenings — Turner Network Sales generated multiplatform buzz by helping affiliates in green-friendly markets create advance screening events for an abridged HD version of CNN’s Planet in Peril by distributing invitations, providing talent and offering Earth-friendly branded premiums for guests.

Discovery Communications for Planet Earth — With the help of a partnership with Comcast’s HD On Demand service, Discovery drove 65 million viewers — 2.5 million of them VOD customers — to Planet Earth via a multiplatform campaign that included parallel launches on Discovery Channel and HD Theater.

Tennis Channel for Agassi: Between the Lines Consumer Tune-in Campaign — In an effort to build awareness around U.S. Open time, Tennis Channel "resort"-ed to the assistance of partners Talon Air and Westin Hotels and Resorts, which screened the documentary, showcased promotional artwork and ran 15-second Tennis Channel spots.

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