So here we are, round two. Yes, it is time for the hps groups review of the most anticipated show of the year, that being The Grand Tour, produced and owned by Amazon and featuring Jeremy Clackson, Richard Hammond and James May.
The Grand Tour has been going for a couple of weeks now so this will be a short review because, let’s be honest, it was always going to be amazing and it did not disappoint! The first episode was named ‘The Holy Trinity’ and focused on the three best hypercars ever to be produced; the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 and the Ferrari La Ferrari. For those of you unfamiliar with these cars they are essentially hybrid powered hypercars which use electricity in combination with petrol powered engines show that electric cars don’t have to be boring. Also in the second episode they decided to try and be special forces soldiers, which was the most ridiculous episode ever, but so ridiculous it was very engaging – definitely don’t give up your day job guys.
Essentially Amazon have given them a bottomless pot on money and said ‘spend it’. Reports are that the opening sequence to the first episode cost £2.5 million and the overall Grand Tour budget was upwards of £160 million, a lot more than the humble BBC could ever give them.
The Grand Tour is everything the current Top Gear isn’t or could ever be. Amazon claimed that ‘millions’ of Amazon Prime customers streamed The Grand Tour when it became available on Friday 18 November. The show itself received good reviews from the critics; with The Guardian saying ‘Clarkson and co can still make a spectacle.’
Now we move onto how this show was promoted. Even though there was a lot of PR around the Clarkson fiasco which led to him leaving the BBC, The Grand Tour utilised modern marketing techniques to help promote and encourage viewers to watch the show.
Social media, Facebook especially, was used as a platform for constant peer-to-peer communication, with a fantastic use of live streaming, photos and video content, this quickly grew (thanks to the loyal fans of the trio) into a Grand Tour page with 1.4 million likes. The interaction between fans and The Grand Tour team really helped the show grow a social presence; and such interactive content made the Top Gear page, which now just posts car reviews, seem like it was 2003.
But let’s be honest, the show is only available on Amazon Prime, which costs £79 per year. Amazon knew exactly what to do with this cost, a classic price cut (true marketing practice), down from £79 to £59 a year! That Is less than anything competitor Netflix has to offer.
The show will be expanding into 200 countries in December, yes more money coming in for Amazon, but in 2017 we will really see the show take off. Allowing those countries to be part of the Facebook page, teasing content to potential viewers, only makes people want it more, meaning Amazon will most likely get more sign-ups to Prime in December.
The Grand Tour proves that creating an entertaining show that fans want, and using social media effectively, can really create a buzz and engage a new audience. It can, and does, sell in the product and engage a market that may not have engaged before.