July 14, 2008

‘The Chopper Challenge’ Is A Hit With Brands

NEW YORK, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Halfway through its first season, "The Chopper Challenge" has won the hearts of viewers and praise from its brand partners. The show airs weekly on Wednesdays at 8:30 pm ET/PT via Viacom's CMT network. Each week, a celebrity bike builder designs and builds a sponsor-inspired, fully handcrafted, custom logo-branded motorcycle. "The Chopper Challenge" offers brands the opportunity to connect, as well as deepen their relationship, with consumers.

"The Chopper Challenge" is produced by V Entertainment Group LLC, which retained GMR Entertainment to secure all of its brand partners for the series. GMR Entertainment is one of the leading music and entertainment marketing agencies within the Omnicom Group.

"The Chopper Challenge" is aimed at the 35 million current motorcycle owners/operators in the U.S. -- as well as fans of the sport. The series premiered, May 14, with a GEICO-branded bike, built by master bike builder, Kirk Taylor of Custom Design Studios.

"GEICO is very pleased to be part of such a fantastic show," says GEICO powersports marketing representative Eric Vaden. "We love the bikes that have been produced and being able to see the creative talent and ingenuity that goes into each of these bikes is very intriguing. We feel that the viewers of CMT's 'Chopper Challenge' are the right people for us to reach out to regarding our family of insurance products and we love the interaction that 'Chopper Challenge' gives us with this audience. It's a great partnership that we look forward to continuing."

GEICO was so happy with the result that it signed on for a second episode, which aired July 9. GEICO's first "Chopper Challenge" episode spotlighted the Gecko lizard, while the second features the Caveman.

In addition to GEICO, "The Chopper Challenge" has partnered with "The Incredible Hulk" (bike built by Scott Long and Central Coast Cycles), Road Runner High Speed Online/Time Warner Cable (Cole Foster of Salinas Boys), the rock band Seether (John Shope of SSinister Cycles) Patron Tequila (Johnny Goodson's Insane Custom Cycles), Mohegan Sun (Mitch Bergeron of Mitch Bergeron Customs), Monster Energy (Alan Lee of Alan Lee Designs) and Jim Beam (Ralph Randolph of Knockout Motorcycle Company).

While the series prominently shines the light on master bike builders, the Jim Beam-branded episode of "The Chopper Challenge" also shed light on a worthy cause. "By supporting real-life subjects in non-traditional ways, Jim Beam is putting the brand's timeless values into a context that makes them contemporary and relevant to today's consumer," explains Rory Finlay, senior vice president and global chief marketing officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. "We're excited that Ralph Randolph's chopper creation will continue to raise awareness of Operation Homefront and bring further proceeds to this foundation which supports our troops and their hard-working families."

Until now, motorcycle shows have offered great entertainment for the motorcyclist, but often forgetting that most riders have passengers. "But we wanted 'The Chopper Challenge' to be entertaining, educational and inspirational for all ages and genders, not just bikers," notes Eric Harryman, co-president of V Entertainment Group.

Harryman continues, "Each week, with 'The Chopper Challenge,' you don't know what you're going to get. In every episode, the viewer is exposed to a different artist -- a master craftsman -- and a different brand, which supplies the creative element for building the bike. Of course, viewers get to see a fully completed custom machine, created from the ground up. This show is about the artist -- the bike builder. However, we tell the artist, 'Here is a blank canvas, here are the colors you must use, and this is the subject matter, which must be reflected in your painting -- your bike.'"

Normally, GMR Entertainment is asked to partner one brand with one entertainment property, notes Marcus Peterzell, co-managing director of GMR Entertainment. "But in this case, we had to come up with nine brands, which was challenging. Fortunately, we had a show that was compelling, entertaining and interesting -- and brands wanted to be a part of it."

"The Chopper Challenge" will culminate in a series finale, airing July 16, where one of the nine bike builders will be declared the grand prize winner via viewer voting.

In the meantime, V Entertainment Group is gearing up for the next season. "We've enjoyed our inaugural season of 'The Chopper Challenge' with CMT," Harryman says. "Based on our performance and the overwhelming response from viewers, we look forward to going boldly into the second season."

About V Entertainment Group LLC

Established in 2005 and based in Beverly Hills, California, V Entertainment Group was created solely for the purpose of creating, acquisitioning and developing motion picture and television projects and entertainment-related endeavors. "The Chopper Challenge" is one television series amongst many other motion picture and TV projects currently in development for the company.

About GMR Entertainment

GMR Entertainment is a global entertainment marketing agency that offers clients comprehensive services, including music/entertainment strategy and consulting; talent procurement and licensing; experiential live activation; entertainment partnerships; brand integration and product placement; and digital consulting and marketing.

With offices in New York, Milwaukee, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Beijing, GMR Entertainment is a division of GMR Marketing, a member of the Radiate Group, a global network of independently branded marketing services agencies operating within the Omnicom Group Inc.

About CMT

CMT, a unit of Viacom's MTV Networks , is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 87 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.

V Entertainment Group LLC

CONTACT: Michael Paoletta of GMR Entertainment, +1-212-479-1021,[email protected]; or Eric Harryman of V Entertainment Group LLC,+1-310-278-9700, [email protected]

Web site: http://www.thechopperchallenge.com/