TV: passive to active?
Have our attention spans become so short that we cannot simply watch a TV show without posting our thoughts or looking up info on our phones? It’s clear that advertisers and producers recognize this, as they’ve begun to weave digital campaigns and social media into TV programming. It’s possible that as TV and the digital world become more integrated, content will seamlessly be shared across platforms, and watching TV could become a more active participatory experience. A few brands such as Honda and AXA auto insurance have recently created commercials and implemented the use of mobile apps. The spots are well executed technically as content is transferred via QR code and sound-syncing technology. Despite the innovative approach, the importance of these types of ads is to take the user from viewing to product purchase.
In terms of TV programming, the UFC has begun streaming pay-per-view while simultaneously allowing users to interact on multiple platforms by tweeting, chatting and judging the fights. The service is quality programming and might be a look into what the future holds for TV and the Internet. This appears to work better than regular programming trying to incorporate social media, such as a live twitter stream during events and award shows. It seems that social networks are becoming a legitimate resource. The Stream, a news talk show is actually using social media as a basis; producers will script the broadcast using tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos. Furthermore, major events have called for the use of specialized apps that offer complementary information. For instance, the Oscar Backstage Pass app this season gave an exclusive behind the scenes look into the awards show. The problem is that without proper integration of these apps and social media, viewing all the different screens becomes a challenge. It’s hard to tell if this activity will soon become normalized, or if people will always prefer to relax and enjoy TV.
Rewards can make an impression. Inspiration can ignite a movement.
A great way to make a lasting impression is to deliver immediate gratification or offer some type of tangible reward. For example, GranetaPets, a premium dog food in Germany, had key insight to stop dogs and owners when walking by their billboard. The company concealed actual dog food within the billboard; dogs were therefore attracted to it, as they have a heightened sense of smell. Owners that took notice were encouraged to check-in via Foursquare and once they did, a free bowl of dog food was dispensed.
Many great ideas involve the user and depend on them to participate in the making of a campaign. Coca Cola’s latest crowdsourcing campaign got rock band Maroon 5 on board to create an original song in 24 hours with fans contributing to the song via Twitter. Fans were able to tweet lyrics and ideas as inspiration for the band. Once the track gets 100k downloads, Coke will make a donation on their fan’s behalf to the RAIN Foundation (Replenish Africa Initiative). This is not just a campaign, it’s a part of a bigger movement to help make the world a better place, with the ultimate goal of providing at least 2 million Africans with clean water by 2015. Many companies have made similar moves such as Pepsi with their Refresh the World project, and Maxwell House’s Brew some good initiative. A successful campaign can usually create a movement when it’s inspiring, for the common good, and has a unique idea that is cohesive with the brand.