Right On Target At The Grammy’s

One of the topics I’ve been most interested in lately is how the television industry is going to replace the revenue typically brought in by interruptive advertising. This is going to become a bigger issue in years to come as live viewing decreases and viewers have more and more opportunities to watch programming without commercials.

The argument that viewers watch commercials that are entertaining may have some validity, but the industry has had sixty years to come up with commercials that are entertaining, and with a few notable exceptions, they have failed.

So I’m curious to see what Plan B looks like and how 2nd screen plays a role.

This weekend’s Grammy Awards featured several examples of alternatives to traditional interruptive advertising, the most notable of which was the four-minute commercial block (estimated to have cost $8 million) Target purchased to show a live concert by the band Imagine Dragons. Call it the first-ever branded content commercial.

The mini concert had high production value: 22 cameras (including helicopter shots) and a cast of thousands (or at least hundreds). What was unique about it was that it capitalized on the fact that the Grammy’s has an audience of avid music fans and presented them with content that would be of high interest to that audience.

Target’s branding was subtle but always there: the stage was bathed in red light, creating Targets’ iconic bulls-eye logo.

And no one else was doing anything like it, which gave Target a high level of awareness for the spot. While Imagine Dragons were not up for an award, they are a popular band and their music sits on the border between pop and rock and thus appeals to a large audience. The spot was well shot and the reaction on social media and in the blogosphere seemed universally positive.

Target made extensive use of 2nd screen in this project, Twitter in particular. Using the Target Twitter account they encouraged users to tweet using the #moremusic hashtag in order to learn more about the making of the commercial and to tease it beforehand. In addition to Twitter, Target used Snapchat to tease the concert, driving users to that app where they were able to view teaser footage and, during the Grammys, backstage video from Madonna’s concert that looked as if it had been shot with a cellphone camera.

In addition to Target’s own 1.55 million followers, the brand made use of Imagine Dragon’s 2.13 million followers, and then invited internet celebrities including Justine Ezarik (1.75 million Twitter followers)and Lele Pons (6.5 million Vine followers) to attend the concert and talk about it on various social media platforms while it was happening.

Using a unique hashtag like that gives Target insight into who these users are: where they come from, what their interests are, what brands and celebrities they follow. This is powerful information that they can then use to inform a host of marketing decisions and even product rollouts. #MoreMusic also refers to a new product rollout from Target where fans who buy the upcoming Imagine Dragon CD from the retailer will also receive four exclusive tracks, and so the hashtag served double duty, giving them data on the correlation between those who reacted to the video and those who purchased the CD.

That is, of course, the real value of 2nd screen: the data that is collected from viewers who participate in the campaigns. A platform like Twitter makes it easy, as everything is public and brands and networks can see who shared, retweeted, liked or favorited the content they are creating and then glean a host of deeper information such as age, gender and location in order to get a better picture of their audience.

The more 2nd screen becomes a part of the viewing experience, whether via social media or via an OTT app, the better brands and programmers will get to know their audiences, their likes and dislikes. That’s always going to prove to be a benefit for the consumer and for the brand and programmer as well.

This originally ran on the 2nd Screen Society blog

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