US truck maker funds Fathom's big rig documentary

LONDON - Omnicom agency Fathom Communications has produced a 45-minute documentary on truckers which has been bankrolled to the tune of $15m (£8m) by Navistar, a US heavy vehicle manufacturer hoping to generate buzz for a new model.

'Drive and Deliver' is released on August 22, several weeks ahead of the October launch of Navistar's new long-haul truck the LoneStar.

The documentary follows the lives of three American truck drivers, interspersed with gratifying shots of the LoneStar in action.

The New York Times has reported that Navistar International will spend a total of $15m marketing the LoneStar, including the film's production, promotion and release.

'Drive and Deliver' was produced by Fathom Communications, a division of the Omnicom Group which specialises in branded content, as well as online advertising and direct marketing.

Mark Leger, Fathom's managing director, told the New York Times: "The insight was that truckers are very passionate about their jobs and want to tell their stories. They want someone to amplify their voice and become their advocate."

Navistar spokesman Al Saltiel added: "Unlike a lot of consumer companies, we don't have to debate how much we spend on TV, because the answer is zero. This is about generating word of mouth, positive word of mouth."


Eurostar recently followed a similar route of brand-based film marketing. 'Somers Town' follows the friendship between two teenagers, one of whom is the son of an immigrant working on the new Eurostar terminal, and was released in 50 cinemas in August after winning an award at the Edinburgh Film Festival.


Ad agency Mother put the idea for the film to Eurostar after it was eliminated from the client's advertising pitch in 2006.


Mother also conceived 'Pot Noodle: The Musical', which is presently running at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is funded by the Unilever snack brand.