Worst Handyman has best engagement tools

Canada’s Worst Handyman‘s first run on Discovery Channel Canada put five contestants to work on remodeling apartment suites last year. The first season recorded an average AMA of nearly 200,000 viewers after its premiere on Discovery Channel Canada. Now the net is working with Toronto-based prodco Proper Television to re-tool the premise in a way that gets viewers bidding online for a chance to get on the air.

Canada’s Worst Handyman 2, which will fill the 10 pm time slot starting April 16, puts five contestants to work building eco-sheds. The five luxury structures are up for auction on eBay.ca, along with a sixth shed constructed by the show’s two experts, a contractor and a carpenter charged with whipping the worst handymen into shape.

Viewers can bid blindly for the eco-sheds by picking a number between one and six – so a bidder won’t know which shed is his or hers until the bidding war closes on April 6. The six successful bidders will then be filmed and featured in the show’s series finale in June. All proceeds from the online initiative go to Habitat for Humanity Canada.

As the net prepares to launch a major campaign to promote the show’s premiere, kicking off two weeks prior on April 2, online interactive elements are also in development. Working with LLG Media, Discovery Channel is building interactive components at Discovery.ca and www.worsthandyman.ca.

The show’s online presence will include a ‘Tool School’ feature at the recently renovated DiscoveryChannel.ca, which gets users measuring their tool IQ, along with games testing do-it-yourselfers on their knowledge. The series’ handymen will be featured in ‘Can-Cam’ confessionals alongside the people who nominated them during the show’s casting call. Behind-the-scenes footage and audition reels will also be part of Discovery Channel Canada’s broadband offerings to back up the series.

Discovery Channel Canada director of marketing Fadi Issa tells MiC the campaign supporting Canada’s Worst Handyman 2 entails OOH executions (including superboards, billboards and transit shelters) in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Online promotion will support the interactive side of the second season. On-air promotion for the reality series will be heavy on Discovery, and the net has purchased inventory in ad avails from Rogers, Bell Expressvu, Shaw and Star Choice.

Discovery Channel Canada VP sales and marketing Sally Basmajian tells MiC a consumer contest (without a sponsor) is in development that will aim to get people building eco-sheds at home, although the details of the promotion have not yet been finalized.

The show itself does not have any intended brand integration, but Basmajian says the third season may include such opportunities. ‘It has great promise for the future,’ she says. ‘Right now, it has been produced and there’s no clients embedded right in, but for season three, there may be some great opportunities to integrate clients.

‘For Canada’s Worst Driver 3, which will go on air next fall,’ Basmajian continues, ‘we are discussing a few opportunities with advertisers, and for Canada’s Worst Handyman 3, the same thing would apply. It’s really important to the producers and to Discovery, though, to make it flow into the production itself, so it doesn’t stand out as a product placement.’