The third season of The Grand Tour recently returned to Amazon Prime and to promote it, the company used new strategies on different platforms. Amazon launched The Grand Tour Game, an episodic video game for fans to feel like they’re part of the show, and they concocted a clever hashtag not everyone wholly understood.
The Grand Tour, hosted by James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson, premiered its third season on January 18. It’s a spinoff of the original BBC series Top Gear which the trio presented until 2015. However, this version focuses on more than just the cars but on “three middle-aged men” traveling the world.
The show’s YouTube channel recently shared a promotional clip with May and Richard Hammond brainstorming for a new slogan for the upcoming season—meanwhile, Clarkson is in Sweden driving a Lamborgini around a frozen lake. The banter goes back and forth until hey arrive on “hit” as the correct descriptor. Hammond proceeds to make it “snappier” by working it into a hashtag: #amazonshitcarshow.
The clever marketing work by Amazon’s team got about 15-thousand likes on the initial tweet. Due to the deadpan delivery of the joke, there were mixed reactions. One user replied: “Not sure advertising it as ‘amazon shitcarshow’ was the best move…” The Grand Tour reacted, “??? We’re proud of #TheGrandTour being Amazon’s hit car show.” Other fans loved the play on words. Also, both primary hashtags for the show, #amazonshitcarshow and #thegrandtour, generate a Twitter-specific emoji of the three hosts—adding to the hilarity of it all.
— The Grand Tour (@thegrandtour) January 17, 2019
The Grand Tour Game launched its first installment “Detroit Drift City” the same day as the show’s release date. The game and show will release simultaneously every Friday. Amazon Games Studios told Variety the game lets fans “emulate” situations from the show. Players can drive through Detroit, the city featured in the first episode, in a Demon, Exorcist or RTR. As more shows are released, players will have access to more events, tracks and cars. Additionally, there is a multiplayer option.
“This is not a game based in the universe of The Grand Tour, there have been video games based on movies or TV shows. It’s literally playing the show—other game companies I think would be interested in and probably will end up making something like this as well,” Amazon Game Studios creative director Craig Sullivan said to Variety.
The first of 13 weekly installments of The Grand Tour Game is playable now! Drift the corners and drag the straightaways of Detroit in your weapon of choice: The Demon, the Exorcist, or the RTR. Available now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.https://t.co/tuCFiK0yXx pic.twitter.com/pUaYZu1YNX
— The Grand Tour Game (@PlayTGTGame) January 18, 2019
It’s not the first time Amazon used gaming to promote The Grand Tour and market two of its properties at the same time. In 2017, Amazon created a livestream event through Twitch, which Amazon acquired in 2014, to promote the show’s second season. The interactive experience featured a battleship-style game board where players could blow up cars.
“We were looking for a way to get young adults to sample The Grand Tour,” Michael Benson, head of marketing at Amazon Prime Video, told AList at the time. “We knew that gamers on Twitch love live gaming, and [hosts] Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May love to execute incredible stunts with vehicles of all kinds on their show. So, we wondered if we could combine live gaming with car stunts on a global scale.”