Big Bird and Sesame Street gang star in Chrysler Pacifica ads – USA TODAY
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced it will sponsor “Sesame Street” on PBS. As part of the deal, characters like Big Bird, the Count, and Cookie Monster are appearing in online commercials for the Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid minivans.
Big Bird, the Count and Cookie Monster have a new gig.
They’ll be starring in online commercials for the Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid minivans as part of a deal announced this week with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which will be sponsoring Sesame Street on PBS. The terms of the year-long deal were not announced.
Steve Youngwood, chief operating officer of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group supporting Sesame Street, said the arrangement is a win for the iconic TV show.
“Partnering with Chrysler will help us extend our reach in new and creative ways, and support Sesame Workshop’s nonprofit mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder,” Youngwood said. “We’re thrilled to work with a brand that stands for a deep commitment to families and children.”
The partnership with Fiat Chrysler is the first arrangement with an automaker since Sesame Street paired up with Ford in 1998 to promote seat belt use, Youngwood said.
Youngwood said Sesame Workshop is “very selective” in deciding on the brands with which it works. Sesame Street is also sponsored by Beaches Resorts and UnitedHealthcare.
“This is about aligning with a brand that … has put families first, enabled us to continue to support the work that otherwise wouldn’t be possible and allows us to connect with our audience in different ways,” Youngwood said.
In the announcement, the companies said Sesame Street characters will appear in 10 co-branded videos launching today on Chrysler’s digital and social media channels.
“The first four videos, which can be viewed now on Chrysler’s YouTube channel, take viewers on an unexpected ride as the Muppets play ‘Listen, Drive, Surprise!,’ a new game show hosted by Guy Smiley,” a statement said.
Those spots will only be shown on Chrysler’s channels and not in connection with the Sesame Street show. Youngwood said those channels and the products they promote are geared toward adults rather than children.
“We would never integrate brands if they were targeting kids,” Youngwood said. “Our characters are there to entertain and educate kids as an end in itself.”
Two sponsorship messages without Sesame Street characters of five and 15 seconds each will run before and after the show airs on PBS.
Tim Kuniskis, Fiat Chrysler’s head of passenger car brands in North America, noted that “Sesame Street has a powerful connection with families and this partnership allows the Chrysler brand to support their work around the world. … With our all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan, we wanted to help educate parents about its unprecedented 115 safety, security and technology innovations — and who better than Sesame Street, which has been reaching and educating families for almost 50 years?”
Sesame Street made headlines with the move of its new episodes from PBS to HBO in 2015. However, episodes continue to air on PBS, and the Fiat Chrysler sponsorship is only with Sesame Street on PBS.