Two-Pronged Campaign Plugs Fox's Fall TV Season

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20th Century Fox Television's Fox TV is in the midst of a rich media campaign to promote its fall lineup.


The broadcaster worked with interactive ad agency L90, Los Angeles, to create rich media e-mail messages and Unicast Communications Inc., San Francisco, to develop interactive superstitial advertisements.


The superstitial advertisements are timed to run for a month before the season's start. Campaigns to promote new episodes of "Dark Angel," "Freaky Links," "Boston Public," and "The X-Files" -- which premiere Oct. 3, 6, 23 and Nov. 5, respectively -- have begun. E-mail messages for "Dark Angel" and "Freaky Links" will be sent close to the shows' upcoming premiere dates.


Fox will launch a superstitial campaign for "The Street," which premieres Nov. 1, on Oct. 4, said Kaye Bentley, senior vice president of national media, affiliate and national promotions and on-air planning at Fox Broadcasting, Beverly Hills, CA.


Superstitial ads for "The Street" and "Boston Public," shows that are geared toward Fox's female audience, will run on Web sites such as LoveMail.com, Eonline.com, Hollywood.com and across female-oriented Web sites on the HearMe/Mplayer entertainment network.


Interactive ads for "Dark Angel" and "Freaky Links," which are aimed at male viewers, will run on Rivals.com, Playboy.com and male-oriented sites on the HearMe/Mplayer network.


The "X-Files" superstitial ads will run on entertainment, video gaming, supernatural, science fiction and "techie" type Web sites, Bentley said.


This was the first time Fox TV launched a superstitial campaign. This platform was chosen because it gives them an "obtrusive but not annoying" advertising tool, Bentley said. "Sight and sound and motion are very important," especially when promoting television shows, she said.


Hilary Fadner, corporate communications director at Unicast, said, "Essentially, the superstitial allows Fox TV to very closely replicate their television spots."


In addition to the superstitial campaign, content-rich premiere promotions will be e-mailed to 50,000 people who have opted-in to receive information from Fox.com, 20th Century Fox Corp.'s Internet effort.


This e-mail address database has been compiled in a little over a year since Fox.com implemented an opt-in system at its site, Bentley said.


List members will receive promotions that will urge them to tune in to the premieres for "Freaky Links" and "Dark Angel." Interactive media company L90 is using Fox.com's database. The messages will be sent very close to the premiere dates of "Freaky Links" and "Dark Angel," Bentley said.


Fox TV is also negotiating with Radical Communications Inc. about another possible rich media e-mail campaign to promote the premieres, but details have not been set.


Using numbers from a previous e-mail campaign where most original recipients forwarded the messages to an average of five other inboxes, Bentley projected the L90 e-mails could reach 250,000 people. The campaign "has great potential, [the e-mail message] is very easy to pass along," Bentley said.


L90 will track how many times recipients click inside the messages to play the video, said Lauren Kay, vice president of marketing at L90. The company's AdMonitor Technology gives Fox TV the ability to track and make changes to the campaign in real time.


Fox TV liked the look and sound of the content in the e-mail campaign, "but we need to get better at producing Internet content instead of converting television content to retrofit for the Internet," Bentley said. Fox TV plans to shoot more content specifically for the Web, Bentley said.


It's also part of a trend within Fox TV to open its Internet marketing wallet and embrace rich media. Bentley admitted the company now spends more on rich media advertising than on banner ads, which generate click-through rates of less than 1 percent.


"I feel rich media at least gives me a chance," Bentley said. "I don't have a chance with banners. I think a lot of Web sites are realizing that there is an Internet beyond the [GIF] banner. A lot more sites are accepting rich media. This is critical," she said.
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