Toyota Replaces Nissan as Auto Sponsor of 'The Voice'

First Advertiser to Sign On To NBCU's Snapchat Ad Offering

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THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: (l-r) Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton
THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: (l-r) Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

Toyota has signed on to be the exclusive auto sponsor of NBC's "The Voice" for the next two seasons.

The automaker replaces Nissan, who was the official auto partner for four seasons of the reality singing competition. Kia was also an early sponsor of "The Voice."

Toyota is the first marketer to take advantage of NBC Universal's advertising offering on Snapchat. As part of the deal, Toyota is sponsoring "The Voice" Snapchat story, which consists of five, short-form videos that feature user-submitted performances. Based on these submissions, "The Voice" coaches select a contestant to appear on the broadcast premiere of the show.

NBCU struck a deal with Snapchat in August to produce original content for the platform. Aside from "The Voice," NBCU is also creating content around "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," among others. The deal with Snapchat also includes an ad partnership that allows NBCU to sell Snapchat ad units as part of its packages.

Other elements of Toyota's partnership with "The Voice" are still being finalized, but will likely focus on telling the stories of the show's contestants, said Dan Lovinger, exec VP-entertainment advertising sales group, NBCU.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Whether we're involved in music festivals or purchasing new music equipment for schools, our goal is the same -- to identify and support emerging artists," said Nancy Inouye, national media manager, Toyota, in an email. "Being the exclusive automotive partner of 'The Voice' is an amazing way for Toyota to uncover budding music talent."

Toyota has a long history in the discovery of emerging artists. For more than a decade, the Toyota Music Platform, through partnerships with concert series, music festivals and other programs, has supported the search for great music.

"Toyota is the first automotive partner that is excited to be a part of the artists' journey from blind audition to the live rounds," Paul Telegdy, president-alternative and reality programming, NBC, said via email. "They support our emerging musicians and that is extremely import to us."

Nissan decided not to re-up its deal with the series as its focuses on its College 100 program, the Heisman House campaign with the Heisman Trophy Trust, ESPN and ABC and its recently announced partnership with Lucasfilm for "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

"Our strategy is about leveraging big cultural moments and integrating our brand into where consumers are driving popular conversation," Jeremy Tucker, VP-marketing communications and media, Nissan North America, said via email.

Kohl's will also return as a sponsor of the "The Voice," Mr. Lovinger said.

"The Voice" will begin its 11th cycle on Monday night, with Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys joining Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in the judges' chairs.

While "The Voice" remains one of the highest-rated shows on TV (and it won another Emmy Award on Sunday night), viewership has dwindled. The season 10 finale in May was watched by 10.6 million viewers, down 8% from the 2015 spring finale. It pulled a 2.2 rating in the core 18-to-49 demo, off 24% from the year prior. And ratings hit a series low last season.

Despite some ratings fall-off, Mr. Telegdy expects "The Voice" to continue to drive large, live audiences.

"The nature of the show thrives on being live," he said. "From finding out which artists are moving on, to hearing the coach banter, viewers love the live aspects of our show."

Contributing: E.J. Schultz

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously said the 10th season finale of "The Voice" in May drew 10.3 million viewers, down 20% from the 2015 spring finale. It attracted 10.6 million viewers, down 8%.

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