YouTube has pared back its slate of scripted originals, but it’s putting its shoulder into promoting its most popular drama: “Cobra Kai,” the continuation of the “Karate Kid” saga starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka.
YouTube inked a “Cobra Kai” co-marketing partnership with Enterprise, timed for the April 24 premiere of season 2. It’s the first brand deal for one of YouTube’s scripted originals.
The deal includes Enterprise ads with Macchio and Zabka promoting season 2 of “Cobra Kai”; digital media buys promoting Enterprise and “Cobra Kai” tune-in; and in-show integration. The campaign launches April 15 and runs for six weeks in the U.S. As part of the pact, Enterprise will create co-branded assets that will appear on Enterprise.com, airport kiosks, and in its branch locations, including posters, counter mats, and vehicle hang tags.
The 30-second ad features Macchio and Zabka as themselves playing up their iconic rivalry, as they visit an Enterprise location to each rent cars (watch the spot at this link). Commented Macchio: “By combining the playful ribbing that Billy and I share in real life and blurring the lines with the iconic rivalry of our two characters, it strikes a perfect chord as an ad for both properties. Win-win.”
Season 2 of the show picks up after Cobra Kai’s controversial win at the All Valley Championships. Daniel realizes his next countermove is to open his own karate training school called Miyagi-Do, in honor of his mentor Mr. Miyagi.
The in-show integration in season 2 occurs in episode 5. In the series, Daniel Larusso (Macchio) is the owner of Larusso Auto Group, a successful car dealership in San Bernardino county. In the episode, the series will showcase the Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise location within the dealership.
The campaign developed with Enterprise for “Cobra Kai” season 2 focuses on the rivalry between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai but also allows both Daniel and Johnny to be the heroes and let audiences identify with whichever dojo/storyline they identify with, according to Marc Weinhouse, YouTube’s global head of brand partnerships. “The work we did with Enterprise, the show EPs and talent demonstrates what’s possible through true strategic and creative collaboration,” he said.
The first season of “Cobra Kai” scored a 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and the premiere episode drew over 55 million views. It also ranked No. 6 on Google’s top 10 trending TV shows search for 2018.
“Cobra Kai” is written and executive produced by Josh Heald (“Hot Tub Time Machine”), and Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (“Harold & Kumar” movies, “American Reunion”). Susan Ekins also is an executive producer, and Will Smith, James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett executive produced for Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television Studios.