Warner Bros., CW and Toyota Team Up on "Smallville" Marketing Campaign

Mon, April 23rd, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

Official Press Release

Burbank, Calif. and Torrance, Calif. – The Warner Bros. Television Group, The CW Network and Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. are joining forces on a five-week integrated marketing and promotional campaign in support of the hit series "Smallville" (airing Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW), featuring the Toyota Yaris, it was announced today by Lisa Gregorian, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Television Group; Rick Haskins, Marketing and Brand Strategy, The CW; and Kim McCullough, Corporate Manager Marketing Communications, Toyota.

The extensive "Smallville Legends: Justice and Doom" campaign will commence with the return of original episodes of "Smallville" on April 19 (today) and run through the season finale on May 17. The heart of the initiative is a series of custom digital on-air comic book interstitials produced by DC Comics that will air in the form of Content Wraps on The CW during "Smallville."

Launched with the premiere of The CW in September 2006, content wraps are an innovative new advertising format that brings compelling content into the entire length of the commercial break and takes the place of typical spots. Each content wrap is custom designed to appeal to different demographics of the network's schedule. Every content wrap to date has produced approximately 100% audience retention or better out of the program it was scheduled around. "Smallville Legends: Justice and Doom" marks the first time a fully integrated, transmedia program has been developed around the content wraps.

Each content wrap will drive viewers to an immersive online game at www.cwtv.com/justice (launching at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT today, April 19), which will present players with five challenges related to the last five "Smallville" episodes of the season. Via cutting-edge video techniques, a mysterious figure appears on screen to guide players through the completion of each puzzle. Marketing elements of "Smallville Legends: Justice and Doom" will include a cross-carrier mobile campaign, street-team distribution of game clues in selected cities and a national sweepstakes for a chance to win a 2007 Toyota Yaris.

The campaign will feature the Toyota Yaris subcompact vehicle. The Yaris audience is made up of die-hard pop culture fans and loyal followers of cult shows like "Smallville." The integrated storytelling experience of the content wraps and game will give them more of the exclusive content they crave. It will answer unexplained questions from the entire run of "Smallville," detail the back story behind a major plot line, explain the secret history preceding the formation of Oliver Queen's team, and reveal the perilous mission it has been tasked with. The Yaris has already made many appearances on "Smallville." One of the main characters, Chloe Sullivan, drives a Yaris.

In an extraordinary show of collaboration, the show's producers and writers, the network, DC Comics, Toyota and Toyota's ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi LA, worked closely together on the creation of the multiplatform campaign. The team created a seamless world between fantasy and reality by cross pollinating elements of the show and the campaign. For instance, a gadget previously seen on the show appears in the real world via the clue drops. In one episode, the content wrap even carries the "Smallville" storyline from commercial break to commercial break.

"We are excited to be partners with Toyota in this multiplatform brand enhancement experience for 'Smallville,'" said Lisa Gregorian. "We are committed to creating unique and compelling experiences for the fans of our shows and our network, The CW."

"Our viewers crave cutting-edge promotions that delve deep into the world of our shows, and this campaign is guaranteed to deliver," said Rick Haskins. "We expect 'Smallville' fans to love the new game, and embrace the entire, comprehensive multi-platform package."

"The independent-spirited Yaris audience loves digging deep into TV shows like 'Smallville,'" said Kim McCullough. "We're inviting them to engage with this interactive storytelling experience in order to reveal new and surprising details of the show's mythology."

With realistic portrayals and award-winning, state-of-the-art special effects, "Smallville" reworks the Superman lore from its roots. The series stars Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, Allison Mack with John Glover and Annette O'Toole. "Smallville" was developed for television by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar ("Herbie Fully Loaded," "Shanghai Noon" movies, "Spider-Man 2"), based on DC Comics characters. The executive producers are Gough & Millar, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola (all three from "One Tree Hill," "The Bronx Is Burning," "Norbit," "Wild Hogs") and Ken Horton ("The X-Files," "Millennium"). Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The series is from Tollin/Robbins Productions, Millar/Gough Ink and Warner Bros. Television.

 
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