As “Survivor” hits its 45th season this fall, CBS is building a new marketing campaign for the show inspired by its signature piece of clothing: The “Buff.” That versatile cloth that “Survivor” contestants have used as tube tops, bandanas and headbands since Season 1, will be seen at landmarks across the country over the next week, leading up to the series premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
As part of the “Survivor Buff Takeover,” famous locations that will be decked out with Buffs (which, yes, is a trademarked brand name and therefore capitalized) include the Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minn.; Make Way for Ducklings in Boston; Forever Marilyn in Palm Springs, Calif.; Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Los Angeles; Monster Monument at Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Del.; Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus and The Dragon in Hallandale Beach, Fla.; the Tuska statue at University of Alabama; and the Ralphie statue at University of Colorado, Boulder.
“We wanted to create something that made some noise for the show,” said Mike Benson, president and chief marketing officer at CBS. “That went beyond telling people that a new season was on, to reintroduce the program to viewers. Something that was provocative and maybe only ‘Survivor’ could do.”
In Dover, Miles the Monster will be wearing a Buff measured at 104 x 14 feet, making it the largest buff of all time. In Florida, Pegasus will wear a 66 x 11 foot-long Buff, and in Minnesota, the Green Giant is wearing a 40 x 5 foot-long Buff.
CBS has also struck a deal for some NFL and NCAA mascots (including the Seattle Seahawks’ “Blitz,” the University of Alabama’s “Big Al” and University of Colorado’s “Chip”) to sport “Survivor” Buffs. And at-home fans can use AR lenses on Snapchat and TikTok to be seen with their own Buffs.
Even though “Survivor” has been on the air since 2000, Benson noted that the show continues to be discovered by new generations of viewers. “People discovered it pandemic and it’s kind of fascinating the turnover of audiences that have happened,” he said. “There’s a lot of audience that comes into this show and continues to discover how it really is one of the best competition shows on TV. We think that the show’s got a lot of life. It’s far from over.”
Also, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, New York City’s Empire State Building will be illuminated in yellow, blue and red, representing each tribe in ‘Survivor’ Season 45, while viewfinders on the building’s 86th floor Observatory will be donning Buffs as well.
And a drone show will take place in Los Angeles (near Hollywood and Highland) this Saturday, Sept. 23 at around 10 p.m. to mark the premieres of both “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” as 90 minute shows this season.
Here’s a promo highlighting the Buff push: