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20th Century Fox tried to tap into the viral power of Twitter on Sunday night to promote the impending release of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi movie Prometheus.
In what was heralded as a world first, a new three-minute trailer for the film was screened simultaneously online, on Channel 4 and on social TV app Zeebox.
Viewers were then encouraged to tweet about the film using the hashtag #areyouseeingthis.
During the next ad break, Channel 4 screened a 40 second spot which included viewer’s tweets.
Channel 4 said it fitted with its strategy to pioneer innovative and impactful marketing solutions, but it did it actually meet either of these criteria?
Word-of-mouth agency 1000 Heads monitored activity on Twitter around the hashtag during the past week.
The results show that there was a spike in activity on Sunday night, peaking at more than 4,000 tweets, and the hashtag was trending for a brief period.
The tweets shown on screen were all positive, but this wasn't the case on Twitter. Nice tweet by @henweb:
Following the spike in activity the number of tweets quickly fell back to zero suggesting there was no longevity in the campaign, but then the beauty of Twitter is its immediacy.
You wouldn’t expect to see days of activity surrounding the hashtag, the aim is more to gain an initial impact and raise awareness around the trailer.
1000 Heads also monitored the reach of the tweets, which is perhaps a more useful indicator of the campaign’s success.
At its peak the Twitter activity reached more than 15m users, which is several times higher than the audience figures for Homeland.
This figure is the maximum reach of the tweets, so the number of users who actually saw a tweet containing the hashtag is probably much lower.
But it will certainly have extended the reach of the promo beyond a traditional ad slot.
Sentiment analysis also suggests that the comments online were generally positive.
The word cloud below gives an overview of the most popular phrases, with 'amazing, 'awesome' and 'good' standing out.
The second question is whether it is really an innovative campaign?
In order to generate excitement, radio and print ads were used to promote the fact that the new trailer would be shown during Homeland.
The ad space wouldn’t have been cheap, and relying on traditional media isn’t generally seen as ‘innovative.’
Furthermore, while this may be the first time tweets have been included in an advert, TV shows have been displaying viewer’s tweets and text messages for many years.
Similarly bookies frequently show live odds in their TV ads, so the technology is nothing new.
So while the campaign may have achieved some success in driving awareness of the new trailer by increasing Twitter activity, asking viewers to tweet using a branded hashtag isn't a particularly innovative use of social media and nor is the technology involved in bringing tweets to the TV screen.
And due to the cost involved in promoting the campaign and buying an entire three-minute primetime ad break, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing this tactic copied on a regular basis.