Chrysler Inks TiVo Ad Pact

TiVo and Chrysler Group announced on Wednesday an ad deal for the carmaker to promote its new Crossfire sports coupe through the digital video recorder (DVR) company’s branded entertainment area.

Chrysler will run a package on TiVo Showcase from July 8 to July 22 offering viewers the chance to schedule a viewing for the five short films chosen as finalists in the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival. All the films feature a Chrysler car (either Crossfire or the Pacifica sport-utility vehicle) at the center of the action. Viewers can also view more information on the Crossfire and order a CD-ROM with a detailed look at the car.

The film festival, in its second year, challenged filmmakers to produce a short film in 10 days in New York City. The promotion takes its cue from BMW Films smash success. In that, the German carmaker garnered widespread acclaim and popular attention from its series of short films that featured a BMW car.

Last month, the Chrysler festival selected five finalists from more than 1,000 entries. Their films are available for viewing at the festival’s Web site. In a reality TV twist, the finalists will now live together in a Los Angeles house and work on the Universal Studios lot to come up with a feature film production package.

The Chrysler film festival promotion is the brainchild of branded entertainment company Hypnotic, which also produced the Terry Tate short films for Reebok, along with Universal Pictures. The winner of the film contest, to be announced later this summer, receives a $1 million production deal from Universal and Hypnotic.

TiVo said the deal is one of the most comprehensive it has struck in its quest to win over advertisers to its branded entertainment offerings. A few companies, notably Best Buy and movie studios, have dipped their toes in the water, running specials on TiVo Showcase as a way to both interact with the consumer and connect with a young, tech-savvy audience.

Likewise, Chrysler said it hopes to tap into the young demographic of TiVo subscribers for its sporty new car. The carmaker also noted the advantage of getting deep data about the effectiveness of the promotion, such as how many viewers watched it and how long they viewed it.

While its audience is still quite small, just over 700,000 subscribers, TiVo sees big possibilities for building its marketing business. Earlier this month, the company rolled out an audience measurement service that offers marketers deeper insights into viewers’ TV habits. In collaboration with Starcom MediaVest Group, TiVo will also offer a quarterly viewing report to ferret out trends.

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