When Marketing Links Web and TV Realms – NYTimes.com
IN the season finale on May 31 of “Touch,” the Kiefer Sutherland drama on Fox, AT&T takes an unusual approach to paid product placement: showing characters using a mobile phone app that does not, in fact, exist.
The app, Air Graffiti, is being developed by AT&T but is still a twinkle in the eye of developers, who say it is a long way from being available to consumers. The app will enable users to leave location-based messages for one another in a street-view map. In the episode, Mr. Sutherland points his smartphone at a building and sees a message — a series of numbers — that was written by his son.
Highlighting what is only on the drawing board, which the company also does in some television commercials, helps promote AT&T as an innovation-driven company — and the message is aimed not just at consumers.
“Our business is certainly with customers, but our business also is with Wall Street, and with the ecosystem of technology developers,” said Esther Lee, senior vice president for brand marketing and advertising at AT&T.
Now AT&T is introducing a Web-only series, “Daybreak,” which is linked to “Touch” and will be promoted with a 15-second commercial during the season finale of “Touch,” as well as on other Fox shows including “Bones” and “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”
Online ads also will be aimed at “Touch” viewers through placement on the show’s home page and on Fox.com.
Tim Kring, who created “Touch,” as well as “Heroes” and “Crossing Jordan,” helped write and produce the online series. It will be directed by Jon Cassar (“24”). Five episodes, each about 10 minutes long, will be released, the first right after the “Touch” finale, and the rest over the next four Thursdays.
Strange Random Marketing Quote:
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
Leo Burnett (Pioneer American advertising Executive, 1891-1971)
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