OMD's Ignition Factory is teaming up with client CW and Entertainment Weekly to conjure up what they hope will be a bewitching -- or at least engaging -- new insert for the magazine promoting the new CW series "The Secret Circle."
The insert was developed by the new media specialists at Ignition Factory, with technology provided by ad tech firm Americhip. It uses a combination of techniques that the agency and the network say is a first-of-its-kind execution.
The removable insert, designed to create both a spooky and participatory environment, includes touch sensors that set off the show's eerie-sounding opening-credits music. The sensors also appear to ignite a flickering light atop a candle being held by the show's lead actress Britt Robertson, who plays the character Cassie Blake.
The insert also has a wind sensor that allows readers to blow at the flickering light, which then appears to be "extinguished."
"The Secret Circle," about a coven of young witches, debuts on Sept. 15. The insert, an EW exclusive, is set to appear in its Sept. 2 "fall preview" edition.
The networks are always looking for unique ways to advertise and promote their new fall lineups, said Rick Haskins, executive vice president, digital, new technologies, marketing and brand strategy for CW. "We always go into the marketing plan asking what is new, what is different and what is fun -- that is also part of the DNA of the overall show," said Haskins. "This particular idea just seemed to work very well" when considering all the objectives.
The Ignition Factory, which is tasked with utilizing technology for engaging new media applications, has worked with EW in the past -- most notably in 2009, when it developed a print insert for clients CBS and PepsiCo that utilized, for the first time, a mini video player that promoted the network's new fall series. It also featured content from sponsor Pepsi Max, the low-calorie soft drink.
One recent Ignition Factory campaign included a promotion for Showtime's reality series "The Franchise," about the San Francisco Giants. The campaign featured a digitally programmed vending machine at the Major League Baseball "Fan Cave" in New York City that dispensed baseballs when a smartphone user checked in with Foursquare. A few lucky participants received balls autographed by Giants legend Willie Mays.
In keeping with the "spirit" of the CW's new show, the new EW insert also has a set of instructions for readers to create their own "secret circle" of fellow witches and warlocks, which when followed correctly trip the sensors.
While some may deem the effort hokey, the supernatural genre has worked well for the CW and its predecessor network, The WB, going back to the days of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer."
Marc Simons, West Coast director of Ignition Factory, said technology can often help promotions punch through the clutter: "The audience they're trying to reach is younger, so they really need to do stuff like this in order to make it a little more engaging and stand out."