Mixed Signals

In the age of TiVo and DVRs, ensuring that eyeballs view a brand's message has become a challenge for both the brand and its agency. There are inventive ways to get around this, some involving actual partnerships with TiVo.

Magnolia Pictures teamed up with TiVo to produce a campaign that targeted 18- to 34-year-old males to promote "The Signal." In this horror movie, every form of communication, such as cell phones, radios and TVs, gets jammed by a mysterious signal that essentially turns people into murderers.

Media Storm secured media buys during HDNet's "Mixed Martial Arts" and Fuse's "The Sauce" prior to the movie's release.

Viewers watching "Mixed Martial Arts" had their content interrupted, without warning, with a static message that was embedded into the show, encouraging them to visit, which is the official Web site for "The Signal."

Disrupting content is a surefire way to grab someone's attention, but guaranteeing that you don't anger your audience is another story.

Personally, if I was watching one of my favorite shows and content was made to appear that something was legitimately wrong with either the show itself or my DVR, when in reality it was an ad, I wouldn't be happy. That's mostly because I'm not a techie; to think that something was wrong with one of my techie devices would cause me to panic and binge-eat peanut butter cups.

But not everyone reacted like my hypothetical meltdown. "The feedback was huge," according to Craig Woerz, managing partner of Media Storm. "We know our young male demo is using their DVRs and wanted to force them to experience 'The Signal.' It was one of Media Storm's most successful DVR campaigns ever, with more than 50% of the people who viewed the 'Mixed Martial Arts' content opting in to watch the full trailer (over 2 minutes long). Once at the trailer, they stayed fully engaged for more than 80% of the long-form content," continued Woerz.

The movie was promoted differently during an episode of "The Sauce," which featured a special film segment where hosts of the program ran movie footage and release information.
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