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Toyota enters ring with ‘Gladiators’

Automaker to promote vehicles on NBC show

It may be called “American Gladiators,” but Japanese automaker Toyota has beat the competish and will promote its vehicles in NBC’s revamp of the show.

Toyota will specifically push its largest SUV, the Sequoia, in the reality gamer set to step into the ring Jan. 6.

The Sequoia will be placed on the set alongside the game’s final stage, the Eliminator. The SUV will be awarded to winners as part of the grand prize. Attributes of the brawny vehicle will be mentioned by hosts Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, and the truck’s “Anything but ordinary” mantra will be integrated into the show’s video-replay highlight in each episode, branded by Toyota Sequoia.

Integrations are part of a significant ad buy by Toyota during the show.

NBC plans to air eight episodes of “American Gladiators.” Toyota reps said it would consider expanding its relationship with the series and possibly create additional programming for the Web or other platforms, should it get picked up for an additional round.

Timing of the series bow coincides with the launch of the second-generation Sequoia, which rolls out in dealerships at the end of January together with an ad campaign.

Show’s target demo also fits with the aud Toyota’s looking to attract to the Sequoia: males with families who are weekend warriors and grew up playing nontraditional sports.

Toyota’s entertainment agency Brand Arc brokered the deal with NBC

Toyota’s deal is just the latest major pact between NBC and an automaker. It recently secured a deal with Ford under which a Mustang will play the new KITT in the net’s redo of “Knight Rider,” and Nissan returned for a second season of the Peacock’s “Heroes.”

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