If you’re a contestant on the hit Discovery Channel reality competition series, “Naked and Afraid,” what’s the best supply you can have in your satchel? Why, a juicy Carl’s Jr. Original Thickburger, of course! This playful concept, dreamed up by Discovery Channel’s integrated marketing team (led by VP, Branded Entertainment Jennifer Pennybacker), is at the heart of the channel’s newest integrated promo with Carl’s Jr.—a spot that marries the popular series to its sponsor brand using the crucial conceit of bringing one very carefully chosen survival item. Watch the integrated promo HERE.
The biggest challenge involved finding a common ground for combining the bold and risqué brand of Carl’s Jr. with the earnest and authentic survivalist conceit of “Naked and Afraid.” While Discovery was OK with poking a little fun at bringing a cheeseburger as a survival item, it was important to execute the idea in a way that protected the integrity of what the show is really about. Pennybacker called on collaborative partner, 2C Creative, to work closely with her team in bringing the concept to life.
“One of the many reasons we love working with 2C is their attention to the details and dedication to getting the right performance. Brian Eloe and team are collaborative and enthusiastic even when stuck between two big brands like Discovery and Carl's Jr.,” said Pennybacker. “Sometimes branded entertainment projects are one big riddle and the 2C team is the smartest at solving these riddles.”
“It’s always a unique challenge to straddle the promo and advertising worlds, especially when a brand like Carl’s Jr. isn’t one people would immediately associate with ‘Naked and Afraid,’ so finding a concept that complemented both brands was our goal,” said Brian Eloe, 2C’s Director/Creative Director. “Yet, having collaborated closely with Jenn Penn and her team on other tough, co-branding projects, we had already built a rapport and confidence in each other to be successful.”
The “Naked and Afraid” / Carl’s Jr. project marks the third such integrated promo collaboration between 2C and Discovery Channel, which have also paired up for different “Shark Week” integrated campaigns.
In this case, the very nature of “Naked and Afraid” required actors who could embody the show’s spirit and weren’t afraid to perform almost completely unclothed, making casting an essential step. Despite the comedic quality of the spot, these actors still had to be believable as actual contestants. This brought the production to Los Angeles, where 2C and Discovery had access to both a large concentration of talent and a rugged location—Soledad Canyon—known for terrain capable of mimicking something straight out of South America.
Of course, shooting in such rustic conditions presented challenges for producing camera-ready food that properly portrays just how delicious an Original Thickburger looks when ordered piping hot and fresh from a Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s store. To accomplish this, a Carl’s Jr. food truck was on set to maintain a constant flow of fresh cheeseburgers, not to mention feed the cast/crew.
Another interesting aspect was shooting for nudity, requiring a special wardrobe that would look like skin once blurred in post-production. It also meant getting clever with camera angles and props that could hide private parts and microphones. The show’s signature canvas satchel’s helped tremendously. After the shoot, everything was cut in Adobe Premiere, with extensive use of Davinci Resolve for color grading that gave the finished spot a more cinematic feel.