“Training for Tahoe: Brian and His Famous Friends” pairs the thesp with a number of athletes, including Los Angeles Clippers basketball star Blake Griffin, Olympic speed skating champ Apolo Ohno and football players Aaron Rodgers, Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan and Ndamukong Suh, as he prepares for the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament, held annually in Lake Tahoe, Nev.
Concept was launched last year on NBC with “Golf Therapy: Life, Lessons and the Pursuit of Par.”
Subway will once again turn the footage it shot for the special into a separate Web series on Subway’s Facebook page (which has 8 million followers) and other platforms, as well as into commercials that will bow throughout the rest of the year; these other projects won’t necessarily feature Baumgartner.
“It’s designed to have a long shelf life” and not serve as just a TV special, said Stuart McLean, CEO of branded entertainment shingle Content & Co., which last year produced “Clean Break,” an action sports Web series for Schick Hydro that appeared on Crackle.com and on a Fresh Artist Filmmakers series, also with Subway.
Content & Co. is shepherding the Subway project, which it developed for the chain and produced with Baumgartner’s 3 Bees Entertainment. Baumgartner, McLean, Peter Isacksen and Scott Wood are exec producers, with Rand Holdren returning as the director.
Subway, based in Milford, Conn., eyes the property as a way to create an entertainment vehicle around its Subway Famous Fans program that enlists athletes to promote the chain as an option for healthy eating.”Everybody is looking for content,” said Tony Pace, chief marketing officer of the Subway franchisee advertising fund. “This is good content that has the ability to be deployed in other places and isn’t dependent upon the entire show. We think this is imaginative, shareable content, and that’s to our advantage as a brand. It allows us to do things that work across multiple platforms with multiple purposes. We’re not fans of one-off stuff.”
This year, the special places Baumgartner in a variety of golf and other sports settings, like ballparks, football fields and Olympic training facilities.
” ‘Training for Tahoe’ gives people the unique opportunity to see elite athletes and Subway Famous Fans in a highly personal and creative setting,” Baumgartner said. “We never get tho these guys outside of their elements, outside of hosting something or in a coat and tie on ESPN.”
Baumgartner plays Kevin Malone on NBC’s “The Office.” His 3 Bees shingle also produced an original Web series about turtle racing for CollegeHumor.com.
“Brands are really understanding that content is a new tool in the toolbox,” McLean said. “When everybody knows what the objectives are and it’s fun, it goes beyond the experimental stage” and can turn into an important part of marketing.