Angling for a new crowd

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Toyota, auto sponsors of the Bassmaster Classic, has developed a 15-episode behind-the-scenes Web series about bass fishing's premier tournament and the lives of five top anglers that began airing this week on the new ToyotaFishing.com.

The Bassmaster Classic, described as the Super Bowl of bass fishing, airs on ESPN2, as does the Bassmaster Elite Series, an 11-event tournament circuit that's also sponsored by Toyota and its Tundra trucks. Last year, 9.5 million people tuned in to watch the five Bassmaster Classic telecasts.

Toyota calls the new Web series, "Hooked," a "true first-of-its kind for the bass fishing industry." It was produced by Brand Arc, Toyota's Los Angeles-based branded entertainment agency, and will run on a number of other sports, fishing and outdoor Web sites via banner ads that either link to the webisodes or to ToyotaFishing.com.

Toyota spokesman Chad Harp said Toyota developed and funded the series of 15 three- to six-minute webisodes to help drive traffic to its ToyotaFishing.com and Toyota.com sites. "We want to give more to our fans and people who care about the sport," he said.

Toyota hopes the series and the ToyotaFishing.com site will help drive sales of the Toyota Tundra, the official truck used by fishermen to haul their boats and equipment in the Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite series.

"We're looking for ways to get more out of our sponsorships," Harp said.
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