Cimarron Puts Lotus in Speed TV Spotlight

LOS ANGELES The Cimarron Group has teamed with Gemini Pictures to produce a one-hour television special highlighting the history of the Lotus automobile company, the agency said.

Airing tonight on Fox’s Speed Channel, the program is the sixth in the cable network’s classic car series, Victory by Design. Past episodes have featured Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jaguar, said Nigel Williams, executive vice president and executive creative director at the independent Hollywood, Calif., shop. This, however, marks the first time an automaker was directly involved in the production, he said.

Cimarron crafted the programming deal with London-based Gemini and Speed TV on behalf of its Norfolk, England-based client, the agency said. The shop began working with Lotus prior to the American launch of its Elise model in early 2005.

Victory by Design: Lotus, hosted by vintage-auto racing champion Alain deCadenet, “brings the car’s history to life,” Williams said. Filmed in the both the U.S. and the U.K. with assistance from Group Lotus, Classic Team Lotus, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and individual owners, the program showcases the auto company’s most legendary racing and road vehicles, from its original 1948 Lotus Mark I through current models.

“It’s car pornography,” Williams joked. “Not every manufacturer could pull this off.”

A production budget was not available, but Williams noted that “the media value of an hour-long TV show” was invaluable for building the Lotus brand among driving enthusiasts.

This goes “beyond branded entertainment,” he emphasized. “It’s just programming all about the car. The car is the story line.”

Victory by Design: Lotus is scheduled to air on Speed TV for the next few months, according to the agency. The show will also be available on DVD with extra footage.

Williams said that a soon-to-break marketing effort for Lotus’ new Exige model includes an agency-designed Web site and print ads, among other components.