Can't Touch A&E's Viral Marketing

Mix MC Hammer's landmark single "U Can't Touch This," a flash mob of dancers decked out in gold lame parachute pants, a crowd of unsuspecting LA shoppers, several strategically placed video cameras, and what do you get?

A successful viral marketing initiative orchestrated by A&E to build buzz around its new "docu-drama" series "Hammertime," which chronicles the present-day life of '90s mega celebrity and current celebritwit, MC Hammer.

The video (below) -- which has been viewed over 800,000 times on YouTube in a week -- is just one of several online and mobile features that the cable network has launched over the past week.

Fans and the curious can visit an official Hammertime microsite to follow Hammer -- real name Stanley Burrell -- on Twitter, play games, and generally "interact" with the show until its debut on June 14, and through its run.

A&E is betting on the Web 2.0 marketing blitz to attract viewers beyond its existing audience, according to Paul Jelinek, SVP of digital media at A&E Television Networks.

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"We think this multi-platform promotional approach will not only appeal to our existing viewers, but will also attract new fans to the network and our website."

A&E is no stranger to experimental marketing tactics. Last year, to promote "Criss Angel Mindfreak," the cable network tapped Oddcast to engage viewers. Using the technology company's 3D VideoStar service, users were encouraged to upload pictures of themselves and friends, which were then "mashed" into video clips from the series.

In addition, at WatchHammertime.com, fans can sign up to get a personal phone call, text message or email from MC Hammer just before the series premiere and are automatically entered into a sweepstakes.

Viewers can sign up to receive SMS alerts that will be sent during each episode -- a first for the network.

Powered by mobile technology provider Motricity, the text messages are expected to come from MC Hammer himself, along with his family members who are also featured on the show.

The unscripted 'Hammertime' series is being produced for A&E Network by 3 Ball Productions Inc.

1 comment about "Can't Touch A&E's Viral Marketing".
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  1. Dan Vaughan from Competitor Group, Inc., June 12, 2009 at 12:03 p.m.

    This same concept was executed by Tmobile in London, right? The least A&E could do is be original.

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