Nintendo, Scion Join 'ThanxGiveAway'

Two-Minute Shorts Use Satire to Promote Products on Comedy Central

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- While America descends upon retail outlets this weekend, bleary-eyed and full of pecan pie, Nintendo and Scion will place their own holiday futures in the hands of Comedy Central and a spate of two-minute shorts that prominently feature the brands and satirize the claw-scraping reality of post-Thanksgiving sale-mongering.
By watching Comedy Central's 'ThanxGiveAway' promotion, you could win one of 48 Wii systems and Canon PowerShot cameras or a Scion xB.
By watching Comedy Central's 'ThanxGiveAway' promotion, you could win one of 48 Wii systems and Canon PowerShot cameras or a Scion xB.

The network's annual multi-platform "Thanx-GiveAway" promotion will showcase Nintendo and Scion products amid faux-tailgate coverage, complete with "studio anchors" and rabid fans. The kicker of the event: 48 Wii systems and Canon PowerShot cameras, and a Scion xB that viewers stand to claim by watching.

Coded come-ons
Produced and co-written by nascent creative firm Best Company Ever, the nine spots will be aired intermittently throughout Comedy Central's planned Thanksgiving programming block, Nov. 27-30, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. According to the Comedy Central website, viewers need only enter the dozen codes aired during the broadcast either online or on their mobile device.

Best, which has previously worked with MTV, Cotton and Spike TV, completed principal work for the shorts in a two-day shoot at a mall in Staten Island.

Eileen Doherty and Laura Murphy, Best's co-founders and co-chief creative officers, describe the Thanksgiving setup as a "complete soup to nuts" production," and one in which the integrated brands are seen fully in the story.

"They're owning and embracing the project," they say. "It's a nod and a wink to the viewer at home."

The most crucial time of the year
That's the mentality echoed by Jeff Lucas, exec VP-ad sales for MTV Networks Entertainment Group, which oversees the Comedy Central property, among others.

"It's our most successful promotion of the year," Mr. Lucas said. "It's a top priority for us, as well as for [Nintendo and Scion] in a crucial time of year."

For Scion's part, the car manufacturer is putting stock in Comedy Central's own brand of unique marketing.

"We're targeting trendsetting males," said Kimberley Gardiner, Scion's national marketing communications manager. "[The network's] irreverent programming speaks to the young males watching. Young consumers are very savvy to marketing, and it's important for brands to be authentic in how they deliver their messaging."

While Ms. Gardiner stresses Scion's usual route of nontraditional marketing, she describes the "ThanxGiveAway" campaign as a nontraditional experience engaging a more traditional medium.

"We hope viewers take away that we're a fun brand and our vehicles are very customizable," she says. "This is the first time 'ThanxGiveAway' viewers will be actively involved in customizing an xB."

Mr. Lucas, who told Ad Age that the "ThanxGiveAway" sponsorship is "locked up a year in advance," describes the campaign as a perfect meshing of Comedy Central's own programming and of its audience's lifestyle.

Confident of results
"There's always been an extremely high level of involvement," Mr. Lucas said. "We show them great results -- they get great feedback. They know their product moves here."

Previous incarnations of the Thanksgiving collaboration hinged on "Survivor" and Spring Break send-ups. Comedy Central's online and mailed-in entries totaled 1,000,345 last year, with over 47,000 individuals entering the sweepstakes. The return in 2006, when the Wii was the "It" item of the season, came in just shy of 4 million, with over 100,000 unique entries.
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