WB Television Network Latches On to Gizmoz for Viral Campaign

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The WB Television Network, the television division of Warner Bros. Studios, has caught viral marketing fever. In its effort to promote television shows such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek," the WB turned to Gizmoz Inc., New York, to begin a viral marketing campaign.


The network debuted The WB Insider Gizmo, a rich media message featuring behind-the-scenes news and information about the WB's shows. The information, which includes program schedules and exclusive material, will be updated every day. The WB also is featuring the Everyday Give Away, a daily sweepstakes with a number of prizes.


Gizmoz, which was founded in 1996, is a developer of rich media technology. It began as a developer of rich media banner ads. But seeing the writing on the wall -- and the market for banner ads slowly deteriorating -- it reinvented itself and debuted its latest incarnation a year ago. The company's product is a "smart envelope" that delivers streaming audio and video, graphics, animation and text over the Web.


Users can download the messages, called Gizmos, from the WB's or Gizmoz's Web site. The company's technology allows consumers to forward the Gizmo, copy it to Web sites or save it to their desktops. In order to save the messages, consumers need to download the Gizmoz Collector. The advantage of collecting the Gizmo, according to the company, is that whenever information changes, the user's Gizmo is updated automatically. The user is alerted to the update via a blinking icon.


"We wrap rich media, track where it goes and update it," explained David Sokolic, vice president of marketing at Gizmoz.


The WB said that in addition to daily news about its shows, The WB Insider Gizmo includes daily programming schedules and links to show trailers. It also contains links to the network's TheWB.com Web site.


Nancie Martin, senior vice president of new media at the WB, said the network was initially attracted to Gizmoz for its viral capabilities.


"We believe Gizmoz's viral capabilities and continual outreach are powerful ways to reach our core audience of teens and young adults, who are quick to adopt new concepts."


She noted that by using Gizmos, the network can easily remind viewers of its programming schedule and keep its daily sweepstakes prominent in their minds.


"It's an interesting way to get a lot of information updated daily," Martin said. "It's a new way to reach the WB viewer."


Martin said that since the viral campaign is less than a month old, the network does not have any solid numbers on it yet. But she expects open rates to be high. The Gizmos are being sent to numerous WB lists, which she said include e-mail addresses in the high six figures. The Gizmos also are embedded in the network's Web site and are available on many of its affiliate television stations' Web sites.


"The preliminary data suggests that click-through rates are very high," she said. "They also have a high viral rate. That's one of the beauties of Gizmoz."


Sokolic said this is the first time the company has worked with the WB on a campaign.


Gizmoz previously worked with 1-800-Flowers.com on a customer relationship campaign. Last year, the online florist started two Gizmos: a catalog Gizmo for Mother's Day and one promoting its Great Foods brand. 1-800-Flowers said 42 percent of recipients clicked through to its Web site. The campaign garnered a 64 percent click-through rate in the first month, the company said.


Sokolic said Gizmoz provides clients with extensive reporting services that can be accessed through a Web site. He noted that the company's campaign reporting and analysis are "more extensive than with an online advertising company.


"We track open rates, click throughs, the number of times collected, how many people sent it to friends through e-mail," he said.


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