Whenever a TV network launches a new series, a race is on to get viewers to tune in before they get distracted by something else. Executives at USA Network are embracing that concept almost literally.
To generate attention for “Damnation,” a new drama that shows haves and have-nots duking it out in the 1930s, USA has tapped racing driver Clint Bowyer to promote the show during a Nascar race between November 10 and November 12. His No. 14 Ford Fusion will carry a red-and-grey paint scheme promoting the television series during the Can-Am 500K race weekend at Phoenix Raceway. “Damnation” premieres at 10 p.m. eastern November 7, but in a world where TV viewers can watch what they like at the press of a button, it never hurts to have a colorful reminder once a series is available for consumption.
“Given the broadly resonant themes and the action and excitement of ‘Damnation’, we thought wrapping a car would be a great way to introduce the show to Nascar fans – an incredibly valuable and engaged audience,” said Jason Holzman, senior vice president and head of creative for USA Network and Syfy, in questions answered via email. “Having “Damnation’ branding on Clint Bowyer’s Ford Fusion will connect the excitement and drama of Nascar to those same aspects of our show.” USA intends to promote the program with out-of-home posters, and ads in cinema, and on national radio, TV and in digital and social media.
“If we can run well at Phoenix and get the show a lot of attention, we’ll deliver an even bigger audience for the folks at USA Network,” Bowyer said in a prepared statement. NBC will televise portions of the event.
The marketing ploy gives NBCUniversal the chance to get extra attention for a TV series, to be sure, but also, perhaps, gain different viewers for its Nascar events. NBCUniversal splits the rights for Nascar with 21st Century Fox in a deal that lasts through 2024.
NBC Sports initially reached out to Stewart-Haas Racing, which owns and manages Boyer’s car. To make sure the “Damnation” colors catch viewers’ eye, USA Network executives made sure the car also featured some of the characters from the series.
“Damnation” tells the story of a struggle between downtrodden works and rich business owners. The series stars Killian Scott, Logan Marshall-Green, Sarah Jones, Chasten Harmon, Melinda Page Hamilton, Christopher Heyerdahl and Joe Adler. Executive producers are Tony Tost, Adam Kane, James Mangold, Guymon Casady and Daniel Rappaport on behalf of Entertainment 360, The pilot was written and created by Tost and directed by Kane. Universal Cable Productions co-produces the series with Netflix, which will have first-run rights to the series outside of the U.S.