Monday, May 24, 2010

Relevancy leads to Viral Buzz

So like a ton of other people did last night, I watched the finale of Lost. Now there's a ton of folks that have written about the actual show so I'm going to skip that in order to write about something that was nearly unavoidable....the commercials. I think at one point (around 10:15 - 11:00 ET) there was a one to one ratio of commercials to content. (5 minutes of content to 5 minutes of commercial). So there were a lot of commercials. Kudos to Cuse, Lindeloff and JJ for making a show so darn compelling that millions of us sat thru commercials.

Regardless, I think that these expensive commercials which I heard were approaching $900K for a 30 second spot were somewhat wasted with a few exceptions. The two that jump out at me were Verizon's Goodbye to Lost Messages and Target's Smoke and Keyboard ads. And the reason that they did was because of the integration that they had with the show's content. Heck, I would bring my eyes back to the screen because I thought the show was starting again.

The Verizon ads were a combination of user generated content with some clever editing. They would pull a scene where a character from Lost would be looking at a screen or a book or something and cut to a Verizon generated screen with YOUR message. Pretty simple to do from a production perspective. No need to hire actors, no need to be on set. Take existing footage and re-cut it. Easy. (Except for, I'm sure, the millions they had to pay to actually use the footage).

The Target ads were much different, although again, from a cost perspective probably not too expensive (less licensing of course). The first ad had the infamous "numbers" 4 8 15 16 23 42 that had to be typed into a computer in order to avoid destruction. But instead of hitting enter like Desmond did for years, the button got stuck. Time to get another keyboard at Target for $23. The second ad was with the "smoke monster" flying around all of your beach gear. Get a smoke detector for $10.99. Jeez I think I really even remembered these prices correctly.

Just goes to show that if you can make the ads relevant (even though I doubt that I was going to leave the series finale at the moment to go get keyboards or smoke detectors), people will WATCH and remember them. On top of that, both companies now get a "cool" factor associated with them. And in a way Tivo proof themselves (at least the first time around for Target).

Image via Huffpo

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