Turner Gas Station Stunt Spotlights Dallas Season 3
Keeping modern TV viewers satisfied isn’t easy. Even the creators of TNT’s “Dallas,” a show that revolves around backstabbing, sexual exploits and sly business maneuvers, discovered that the program’s viewer base was shrinking by the end of its second season. In an effort to entice new viewers and reinvigorate existing fans by making “Dallas” a part of the pop culture conversation again, Turner Broadcasting formulated an exploit that would generate mass awareness—while staying true to the show—in anticipation of its third season.
The resulting stunt shone the spotlight on TV’s most famous oil family, the Ewings. For one day, the fictional “Dallas” family “undercut the competition” with affordable gas prices ($1.98 per gallon vs. the average $3.50 per gallon at that time) available to drivers in New York City. Transforming a centrally located New York City gas station into an Ewing Energies Gas Station on the day of “Dallas’” third season premiere, Turner showed fans just how powerful the Ewing family was by providing a service that was not only useful to consumers but also tied closely to the show itself. Everything from the gas pumps to the uniforms of gas attendants/brand ambassadors bore the Ewing brand. Actor Josh Henderson (who plays John Ross Ewing) even showed up in character for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the station, pumping gas and offering the perfect photo opportunity for media and fans.
The resulting 311 million media impressions were earned across a breadth of outlets, from entertainment to automotive to business and local news. To boot, gas station-specific posts on Facebook reached 11 million people, generating 193,000 likes, 14,000 shares and 9,000 comments.