Brand On The Run

Title: Brand on the run: South Africa's Seether will be featured on CMT motorcycle reality show 'Chopper Challenge'
Author(s): Kamau High
Source: Billboard.
120.23 (June 7, 2008): p12. From Expanded Academic ASAP.
Document Type: Article
Full Text:

Consider it the latest case of a band becoming a brand.

When the producers of "Chopper Challenge" needed a brand to feature in an upcoming episode of the motorcycle-building reality show on CMT, they opted for a different approach from the cable and insurance companies they had already used.

Every week, the 10-episode primetime series presents a different bike builder constructing a custom motorcycle that incorporates a brand into the vehicle design. Previous shows included the Incredible Hulk, insurance company Geico and Time Warner Cable's RoadRunner broadband service.

Now, Billboard has learned, "Chopper Challenge" will for the first time use a band as the featured brand during its June 4 episode. The band in question? South African post-grunge alternative act Seether.

In addition to having its image and logo appear on the episode's custom bike, the band will gain further exposure through the playing of its songs "Fake It," "Rise Above This" and "Remedy" during the show. The "Chopper Challenge" Web site will include a link to Seether's Web site and the finished Seether bike will be donated to a charity of the band's choosing. Band members will even appear in the episode to chat about motorcycles.

"Rise Above This" and "Fake It" are from Seether's third album, 2007's "Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces" (Wind-up Records), while "Remedy" is from its 2005 Wind-up set "Karma and Effect." "Rise Above This" has sold 74,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has been on Billboard's Modern Rock chart for 14 weeks, peaking at No. 1.

Seether's participation in "Chopper Challenge" came about after the show's producer, V Entertainment Group, turned to music/entertainment marketing firm GMR for help in identifying an appropriate band to make the focus of an episode, according to GMR VP of marketing Michael Paoletta.

"We put together a master list of artists--bands looking for exposure, bands looking to expand their audience and bands that are actual motorcycle enthusiasts," Paoletta says.

From an initial group of about 25 candidates, GMR whittled down the list to a final few before choosing Seether. "Seether kept referencing Kid Rock's sensibility, how you're known for one thing and then you expand your audience," Paoletta says.

Seether manager Stu Sobol, of Beverly Hills, Calif., talent management agency the Firm, says the deal took about three months to put together. "It was mostly a scheduling issue figuring out where and when we can do it," Sobol says.

V Entertainment Group pays CMT an undisclosed fee to air the show and then sells the advertising that appears during each episode. That advertising is sometimes tied to the brands featured in the show. For example, the Geico episode featured Geico ads, while the Hulk episode included ads for the forthcoming Universal Pictures movie about the famed Marvel Comics character. But "Chopper Challenger" won't air Seether ads during the band's episode. Thirty-second spots were not part of the agreement.

"Most people don't like to watch commercials and the brands know that," V Entertainment Group co-president Eric Harryman says. "My show allows the brands to preview their logos and mantras in a way that the public feels they're entertained."

Harryman also hopes to further exploit the intersection of the music and motorcycle fan bases by putting together a summer concert tour featuring a mix of country and noncountry acts, as well as the bikes built on the show. While he says he has put out feelers to several acts he'd like to enlist for the tour, such as Keith Urban and Montgomery Gentry, none have yet to sign on.

High, Kamau
Source Citation
High, Kamau. "Brand on the run: South Africa's Seether will be featured on CMT motorcycle reality show 'Chopper Challenge'." Billboard 7 June 2008: 12. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.