The Strategy Behind Discovery's “One Car Too Far”

Discovery Channel’s “One Car Too Far” strikes me as very interesting. It’s not just because a Jeep Wrangler is dropped in the middle of a Chilean rainforest and then driven out within three days by a gear enthusiast and an ex-marine, all while surviving the elements. It’s because of the marketing partnership Discovery and Jeep developed for the series, and the results they've enjoyed.

In this post, I’ll break down the motives and implementations of the companies' efforts and examine how they relate to a strategy used in developing content for the web.


The Inspiration

A few weeks ago, I attended a presentation about content idea graphs: developing unique and interesting web content for a large audience that may not directly relate to your product or service. The ultimate goal of this content is to gain links and shares which will build your reach. After watching “One Car Too Far” I know that content idea graphs is not just a website marketing strategy that works, but a marketing strategy that works.

Discovery’s Motives

Networks make the bulk of their money by selling advertising. The more viewers they have, the more they can charge advertisers to address their audience. So, naturally, Discovery wants to grow their number of viewers.

To meet that goal, Discovery took a page out of website marketing’s book on content idea graph. They prospected where a large audience already existed and had very few, but similar interests as their network. What better market than off-roading Jeep enthusiasts?

According to Facebook’s ad reach tool, 1.3 million people of the 800 million on Facebook are interested in Jeep, and 89,000 of those people have a specific interest in the Jeep Wrangler. To put this into perspective, 14.9 million Facebook users have indicated an interest “American Football.”

As you can see, the reach of the show isn’t up-to-scale with, say, football’s Super Bowl, but it still has a lot of potential for a cable network like Discovery, which makes it a great market for them.

Jeep’s Motives

Jeep has a very simple goal: sell more vehicles. Jeep implemented a tactic that was already widely used in television; a tactic that’s very similar to content idea graph used in Website Marketing. They worked to captivate a large audience and relate their product to that audience.

A good example of this is the famous Volkswagen / Star Wars commercial that ran during the Super Bowl in 2011. Watch the spot and you’ll get a feel for this tactic and a taste of how it relates to the content idea graph.

Jeep took this idea to the next level by partnering with the Discovery Channel and creating an entire television series based on their Jeep Wrangler getting out of the toughest conditions the world has to offer. What better way to get people to understand the benefits of their vehicle than by building an entertaining TV show around it and showing off its capabilities?

Many of Discovery’s viewers may have never thought about purchasing a Jeep Wrangler before they saw this show, even though they’ve been touched by Jeep marketing many times before. Now that they’ve seen the Jeep wrangle its way out of some tough situations, they may be Jeep converts.

The Results

Since the series debuted on August 19th, there isn’t much in the way of measurable results attributable to the show, but after just one episode, the series has already sparked a lot of talk. There have been 247 threads on with hundreds of thousands of posts, and returns more than 68 results when performing a phrase search for “One Car Too Far.”

Jeep and Discovery make a strong case for expanding reach by implementing the content idea graph. This example has proven to me that the web content idea graph is a strategy that’s worth considering as part of your Website Marketing.

Brad Timofeev

Brad is an energetic thought leader on digital marketing.

Since joining the WebArt team in 2009, he's guided the agency's unique perspective on search engine optimization, content marketing, and other digital strategies. Book Brad for your next speaking arrangement.

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