CBS Partners With McDonald’s and Coca-Cola for First Carpool Karaoke Integration

Selena Gomez segment kicks off summer sweepstakes

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As The Late Late Show With James Corden's Carpool Karaoke has become a viral sensation, CBS had been eagerly looking to cash in on its success. On Monday night, the network finally found its first brand partners for the popular segment, McDonald's and Coca-Cola.

CBS teamed up with the two brands for an integration in Carpool Karaoke with Selena Gomez, which kicked off a new summer sweepstakes, "Sip. Share. Win!," featuring all three companies. 

In the sweepstakes, which runs through Aug. 1, McDonald's customers will be able to use Shazam on their mobile devices to record themselves singing their own karaoke videos using specially marked Coke cups at McDonald's restaurants. The cups feature the lyrics from one of 10 songs, including Gomez's "Love You Like a Love Song" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."

As part of the deal, The Late Late Show and Carpool Karaoke's logos will appear in-store and on packaging in more than 14,000 McDonald's restaurants nationwide. The Late Late Show logo on bags and in stores will include a "weeknights on CBS" tune-in mention.

A randomly selected grand prize winner and a guest will win an all-expenses-paid trip to L.A. to attend a taping of The Late Late Show and win a year of live music from StubHub. (One McDonald's employee and a guest will also win the same prize.)

"That's great promotion for us and for the show," said Jo Ann Ross, president of network sales for CBS. "[McDonald's and Coca-Cola] came to us with a very coordinated effort. The sweepstakes was part of that."

Five minutes into Monday night's Carpool Karaoke segment with Gomez, Corden said he was hungry, and they pulled into a McDonald's drive-thru and placed an order (both asked for medium fries and a Coke). As the McDonald's workers freaked out over Gomez, Corden asked for one of the cups featuring her lyrics.

After they pulled away, they chatted while eating and prominently featured the McDonald's bag and cups. Corden was driving, but Gomez ate fries and sipped her Coke as they chatted and sang Gomez's "Love You Like a Love Song." McDonald's and Coca-Cola were featured for four minutes of the 12-minute segment.

"There's a lot of fun on that screen," said Ross of the video, which surpassed 1.5 million views in its first 12 hours on YouTube.

Corden and Gomez also swung by Six Flags Magic Mountain for some roller coaster karaoke, but that was not an integration.

The integration and sweepstakes is an extension of Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke and a Song" campaign, which launched last month.

CBS had been actively searching for Carpool Karaoke brand partnerships for several months, and The Late Late Show's producers told Adweek earlier this year that they were also open to integrations. "It's a very sponsorable bit," said executive producer Rob Crabbe.

Corden already has more than 1 billion YouTube views for his Late Late Show videos, a figure that's "over and above what anybody's wildest dreams were," according to Ross. "A lot of clients are interested in sponsoring it and being a part of it. We wanted it to make sense and wanted it to work for both the show and the clients," she said.

The McDonald's tie-in was an organic fit for the segment. In a previous Carpool Karaoke video, Corden and Justin Bieber munched on McDonald's fries, though they didn't name the company or feature any logos on-screen.

"We are thrilled to be one of the first brands to work with CBS to provide the grand prize VIP experience at The Late Late Show With James Corden and we anticipate enthusiasm from our customers over the opportunity to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Joel Yashinsky, vp of brand marketing for McDonald's USA, in a statement.

The deal with McDonald's and Coca-Cola "is going to be a win-win, and it's a good template as we go forward" and look for other Carpool Karaoke partnerships, Ross said.

While no other integrations have been firmed up yet, Ross said there is a lot of interest in both CBS late-night properties—The Late Late Show and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert—during upfront negotiations, with Carpool Karaoke attracting attention from categories like automotive, fast food and music services.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.