Promotion for the season two premiere of Amazon Prime Video’s car-themed show The Grand Tour has literally become explosive.
Following the success of its first season premiere last year, which became one of the digital entertainment service’s most watched episodes, Amazon is appealing to the Twitch audience for the first time by having influencers blow up cars in an interactive Battleship-style live game event called “Battle Cars Live.”
“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 AListDaily. “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.”
Broadcasting across two days the weekend before the show’s second season premiere, “Battle Cars Live” was inspired by a scene in episode five of The Grand Tour, where May and Hammond compete to drop small cars packed with explosives onto larger cars placed on a grid.
On Twitch—which is owned by Amazon—things were kicked up a notch using popular personalities who played against each other using cars and trucks that were rigged to explode at the push of a vintage-style dynamite plunger. Whenever a player scores a hit, the loser spun a wheel of defeat to receive penalties—such as being slapped with a fish or eating an especially stinky cheese. Viewers could also get involved by voting on grid points, but there was no penalty for being wrong.
“It was a clever way to bring the show and the audience together with an engaging activity that provided a great marketing opportunity for both Twitch and Prime Video,” said Benson.
Although this isn’t the first time Amazon Prime Video has teamed up with Twitch, it is the first of its scale. Previous cross-promotions involving shows such as Jack Ryan, Lore, The Man in the High Castle, The Tick and others usually involved influencers doing on-air stunts such as using Amazon Echo devices to break out of an escape room.
Benson believes Twitch’s core audience of 18-to-34-year-olds who consume most, if not all, of their entertainment online is the perfect fit for shows such as The Grand Tour—and like the hosts of the show, Amazon Prime Video looks to create fitting activations to engage with them in spectacular ways.
He also said that Amazon Prime Video would continue to partner with Twitch on other show campaigns in ways that can best leverage the livestreaming platform to bring value to its users.
“Twitch users often like to be together with friends when watching compelling events, so they can share in the moment,” Benson explained. “Twitch’s live video and real-time chat enable the creation of a room with unlimited users who could collectively interact and share in real-time on a global scale. It also provides a platform that allows us to bring video from the show directly to an audience who is interested in what The Grand Tour has to offer.”
“Battle Cars Live” was mainly promoted on Twitch, through social media and via traditional press outreach. Influencers encouraged their followers to play from their personal Twitch channels in the days leading up to the event.
Hosts Kelly Link and Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico talked about the show while playing clips and trailers during the event. Two episodes of The Grand Tour are also available for non-Prime members to watch on Twitch.
The show premiered on Friday with a fiery stunt-gone-wrong lighting up social media. Co-host Richard Hammond crashed a £2 million supercar at 120mph and was caught inside the blazing wreck. But even though the spectacle left many fans stunned, Hammond survived the stunt with just a fractured knee.