GoFastGirl: The Race Around the Planet
We all root for the American team in this year's Winter Olympics. However, if there was a zeitgeist to compare what the national mood is here as compared to other countries around the planet, all you'd have to do is check out www.gofastgirl.tv
Thematically opposite in every way to America's most popular, soul-searching and pathetic "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" programs, this is one clear example of where the US's head is at vs. the excitement and optimism within the largest country on the planet. Set in the spotlight of an international racing series, the first ever Chinese-produced TV program about Formula One racing is about to start its engines.
Xu Ping, Go Fast Girl's girl is about to generate thrills and chills among her country's 1.3 billion TV viewers; literally like they've never seen before. It's China beating US at its own game in one of the most American of blood-racing settings, only it's in China!
The new TV program is about a Chinese National Female who becomes the world’s top Formula One race car driver. Xu Ping will be driving with skill and honor as her country cheers her to victory. Shot in China, it will be produced in Mandarin language.
Set to air in October 2006, GoFastGirl will be the first 20-episode series of its kind anywhere; a female counter-part to Tom Cruise only much smarter, better and faster.
The only players in the show that are lost, desperate or about to loses will be the other drivers on Xu Ping's track. Could this Action-Drama represent a societal microcosm? If so, what does that say about us? Where are we and does Madison Avenue even have a clue?
No surprise the producers have already locked in a major beverage sponsor (well associated with American culture) and are now interested in developing long term product placement and racing car sponsors. Needless to say these will be integral features of the show's landscape. Corporate logos will be displayed on cars, uniforms and trailers. Trackside billboards and inflatable displays will provide a background to the races. In short, the works!
The "Garage" is where it all will happen. When Xu Ping's not on the fast track, she'll be with her grease monkey team. "Garage" will essentially be the backstory and the back stage; the meeting spot for all of our characters in the show. They will be anything but "Lost". Other than Tiffany's the show's producers expect this setting will also be perfect as a natural center for brand inclusion.
Working with CCTV and planning to premier during Golden Vacation Week in October 2006, producer Steven Marrs and his development team promise the program will have brands as part of the television development process. As compared to running dumb-simple (place :30 spot here) advertising, Mr. Marrs promises that his team will work brands well positioned into their show.
Every sponsor of motor sports has a deep love for competition and racing. Their presence at the racetrack gives them a chance to see what many other companies are doing to grow their businesses. By having product branding on a team or within the show they're able to reach the most loyal audience in all of sports.
This is the future. Madison Avenue needs to lead, follow or get out of the way. Weaving brand messaging into speed, intense drama and a brilliant cast is a "formula" for success.
Supported by a multimedia campaign this will be one CCTV's premiere prime time shows. Nicely timed, airings will be followed up by repeat airings in local markets during the run up to the Shanghai Grand Prix.
We continue to root for America's down-hill racers. We continue to root for our national TV producers. We can't ignore that China's train-of-thought has already left station. We also root for America to find its way out of this national desire for our rating winning, most popular "loser" programs. The issue for us all to consider is; that the winner has already won the race before it even begins.
President of Brand Entertainment Studios, Steven can be reached at Steven Marrs