The Top Gear team could be moving to commercial TV – what are the pros and cons of sponsoring Jeremy Clarkson & friends?
The Top Gear presenting trio, Jeremy Clarkson, James May & Richard Hammond, alongside executive producer Andy Wilman, are rumoured to have been in secret talks with ITV. Oscar Lie, from Story Lab, looks at the pros and cons for any brand thinking about sponsoring a new commercial show.
- The main pro is the startlingly successful figures of Top Gear.
- Fans are very loyal to the presenters and would most likely follow them regardless of network.
- Top Gear’s storytelling method gives it universal appeal - mixing comedy, action and drama that transcends boundaries of age, gender and culture.
- The hosts have amazing on-camera chemistry.
- The show features some fantastic cinematography, which has changed the way car shows are presented.
- Hilarious celebrity appearances.
- Their live show has made its way through 24 countries.
- Publicity guaranteed due to the controversial nature of Clarkson’s BBC departure.
- Due to the way Top Gear was funded the trio were able to be brutally honest - as the program was taxpayer funded the hosts could pretty much say what they wanted without facing retribution from sponsors.
- The so-called “Clarkson Effect” is real - a positive or negative review from Clarkson has the potential to make or break a car/product/brand. Some blame him for MG Rover entering bankruptcy in 2005 after several negative reviews. Tesla unsuccessfully sued Clarkson for exceedingly negative reviews of their Roadster, which caused panic among investors and led some customers to cancel their pre-orders.
- A new network’s budget may not be large enough to create as attractive of a show as the BBC version did.
- Clarkson has now become a hugely controversial figure and a target for the tabloids – any poor ratings or negative elements will be magnified in the media.
- Parts of the show will surely change due to copyright issues (such as ‘The Stig’, theme music, etc.) which may lead to a loss of certain fans