Spotted! The Grand Tour hits Toronto (sort of)

Hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May couldn't be at the activation, but they were there in hockey-themed spirit.

What could be better than beloved auto enthusiasts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May zipping around Toronto in one of their spirited auto tours or races?

If your answer was “giant ice resurfacing machines with their faces on the front,” you are correct.

The third and final season of Amazon Prime original The Grand Tour, which stars the trio, hits the streamer April 12. To drum up excitement for the premiere, Amazon brought the boys to Toronto – sort of. In an activation powered by agency Weber Shandwick, with paid media support by Rufus Canada and earned media support by Golin on behalf of Amazon, three full-size resurfacers, each adorned with the face of one of the three hosts, toured Toronto, from Greektown to Yonge Street, all in an effort to draw a crowd and celebrate the season.

Today, the three will meet in Trillium Park for a race.

Although Amazon was the big spender behind the act, it also served to capitalize on Canadians’ love of hockey. The machines will be raced by former Canadian professional hockey players including Paul Bissonnette and John Scott, while the race was hosted by Sportsnet Central hosts Ken Reid and Evanka Osma.

Although Amazon Prime Video doesn’t release its per-market numbers, a study by the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) puts Prime Video at 12% penetration after two years on the Canadian market.

It also doesn’t reveal its numbers for individual shows, but the trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond have a storied history with global viewers. The show they originally hosted for nearly 15 years, Top Gear, at its peak generated more than 7 million average viewers per season in the U.K. alone (distribution deals through Netflix helped it continue that momentum overseas). The three moved to a new show on Amazon in 2016 following Clarkson’s dismissal from the BBC (the three were replaced by U.S. actor Matt Leblanc on Top Gear). While Amazon has never confirmed views for The Grand Tour, it has been critically acclaimed since its debut and maintained positive momentum in the second season.

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