×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

As ABC News Covers An Eclipse, Mitsubishi Hopes to Sell One (or More)

When ABC News on Monday covers the first total solar eclipse to be visible in America in 38 years, one supporter hopes viewers won’t avert their eyes.

Mitsubishi Motors North America, which has long manufactured a model of car called the Eclipse, will use a two-hour special report planned by ABC for next Monday as a platform to promote its all-new Eclipse Cross. In addition to putting the 2018 crossover vehicle on TV for the first time during ABC’s broadcast that day of “Good Morning America,” the automotive marketer will serve as the exclusive sponsor of “The Great American Eclipse,” a special that will play on ABC between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. instead of the network’s regular daytime programming.  During the event, viewers will get to see Mitsubishi photographers trying to get a shot of the Eclipse alongside the eclipse in Salem, Oregon – a task NASA estimates they will have just one minute and 57 seconds to accomplish.

The eclipse was simply too opportune to ignore, said Francine Harsini, senior director, marketing, of Mitsubishi Motors North America, in an interview.  “It’s a great opportunity,” she said. While traditional TV commercials remain important, she noted, a marketer can no longer rely on them to the exclusion of other ideas. “A 30-second spot no longer gets you the buzz,” she added. “We need to be able to break through and step out of convention.”

Mitsubishi’s desire to drive into ABC’s news coverage is emblematic of new efforts by many Madison Avenue regulars eager to find new ways to stand out to viewers who are increasingly able to use technology to ignore traditional advertising. As viewers skip the usual coterie of 15- and 30-second commercials that interrupt the programs to which they flock, advertisers have pressed for new ways to stitch their promotions within the programming. The techniques at play are less overt than the usual instances of product placement that surface in various TV shows. In these instances, advertisers seek very specific links to storylines, themes and characters and try to tie their pitches to those elements.  In 2014, for example, Walmart supported a live broadcast of the play “Peter Pan” on NBC by running commercials that echoed the action from the portion of the play that had just aired (they also feature Tinker Bell).

Mitsubishi has tried to cultivate a sense of youth and adventure, said Harsini, by sponsoring events like Discovery Channel’s 2013 telecast of daredevil Nik Wallenda walking across a river gorge on a highwire, and by aligning itself with specific personalities, like “Good Morning America” meteorologist Ginger Zee. “She really does respond to that idea of design and style and element of adventure” that Mitsubishi wants, said Harsini.

Others have latched on to the coming eclipse as a marketing opportunity. Volvo Cars is sponsoring CNN’s efforts to live-stream the natural wonder with virtual reality and 360-degree cameras stationed at a number of locations across the country. The interactive experience is designed to give people a real-time view of the event, and some of the live-streams will contain promotional content from Volvo and highlight the company’s XC60 model, which comes outfitted with a 360-degree camera.

ABC is seeking more chances to show advertisers it can launch commercials that are “meaningful in the moment,” said Debra O’Connell, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Disney ABC Television Group, in an interview.  “It’s really important in today’s day and age that we can show we are very nimble,”  she added.

Indeed, Mitsubishi had originally planned to film its “two eclipses” idea n its own and send out the result via social and digital media, said Harsini. But ABC began last month reaching out to media-buying agencies – including Mitsubishi’s agency, Omnicom Group’s PHD – to see if advertisers might want to support its coverage of next week’s phenomenon. “We jumped on it,” said Harsini, who noted the whole thing really came together over the last week and a half.

ABC will air five custom ads during “Great American Eclipse,” which will be anchored by David Muir in Charleston, South Carolina. Since the eclipse will be visible first from parts of the western U.S., Mitsubishi photographers will work to capture “Eclipse-on-eclipse” work that can then be shown to viewers tuning in during the early afternoon on the east coast.  The work will have more relevance to viewers than the usual shots of a car running alongside a highway. “We will have a lot of people coming to the set or the live-stream at their home or office or on the go,” said O’Connell.

More TV

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart on

    Michael Che Ribs Academy Over Kevin Hart Controversy on 'SNL'

    Kevin Hart may have alienated some in Hollywood over his recently resurfaced homophobic tweets, but that didn’t stop “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che from cracking some jokes in support of Hart on Dec. 8’s “Saturday Night Live.” After briefly recapping that Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after the 2011 tweets came to light, [...]

  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jason Momoa"

    Robert De Niro Appears as Robert Mueller in 'Saturday Night Live' Cold Open

    Robert De Niro made a surprise appearance as special counsel Robert Mueller in “Saturday Night Live’s” cold open. De Niro popped out of a closet in a sketch that skewered President Donald Trump and the mounting legal pressure Mueller’s investigation has put on many of Trump’s associates. Alex Moffatt played Eric Trump in a bedtime-story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content