Toyota climbs aboard for Best. Trip. Ever.

The automaker helped develop the show with Discovery Channel for a new take on brand integration.

Generally when a brand wants to integrate a product into a show, the show is already conceived and at least partially developed.

The Discovery Channel, however, decided to flip around the order and go to the brands before they had a show.

Sally Basmajian, VP, sales and marketing, tells MiC that she and her sales team specifically targeted automakers because they are the largest advertisers on Discovery.

That’s how Best. Trip. Ever. ended up featuring a Toyota 4Runner alongside Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery and three of his friends on a challenge-filled road trip through the wilderness of British Columbia.

Discovery went out with two ‘loose’ show concepts in the spring and tried to find a willing advertiser.

Through Dentsu Canada, Discovery hooked up with Toyota, a company with an SUV that fit the show outline perfectly.

Along with integration into the show, the deal included a microsite, two sponsorship billboards and three 30-second spots during the show. The target audience of the show is 25- to 54-year-olds, mostly males.

Best. Trip. Ever., which is produced by Toronto-based Castlewood Productions, follows skeleton racer Montgomery and his three adrenaline-junky friends as they try out extreme sports while competing with each other. Discovery has worked with Castlewood previously on Cash Cab.

Despite building the show, in part, around the integration, it was important for all concerned that the product wasn’t shoehorned into the role, according to Basmajian.

‘Our programming people wouldn’t have allowed anything other than something that was believable, and Toyota was onside with that, too,’ she says. ‘They wanted their vehicle shown in a very natural way.’

The show airs Nov. 29 at 7 p.m., and Basmajian is hoping the one-off ends up as a pilot for a series of five or six episodes.