Client: Network Seven
Product: The Big Adventure app
Agency: MNET Mobile
Making, or licensing, television shows and selling ads into them used to be relatively simple--all you needed to do was attract eyeballs and advertisers would follow.
Nowadays the conversation between TV networks and advertisers revolves around effectiveness and engagement rather than just reach. Advertisers demand more meaningful results from TV broadcasters, especially when a primetime show attracts a premium CPM.
A multimillion-dollar production must compete against thousands of shows spread across over 100 TV channels, including streaming services such as Apple TV, Netflix and others.
What makes attracting audiences and advertisers even harder, is the pronounced change in consumer behavior. The 2014 Magna Global Future of Television report noted that during commercial breaks 58 percent of people physically leave the room, and 32 percent interact with another screen, of which 23 percent engage in social networking.
Network Seven had been the market leader in Australian television for many years. Then a competing channel, Network Nine, began winning audience share against key demographics. It also was winning incremental advertiser funds based on deep integration and innovation with TV shows.
Of the overall paid media budget, the mobile app constituted approximately $250,000 of $600,000, or 42 percent.
Network Seven had to innovate in terms of programming and brand integration, and needed to change the argument from a focus on reach to one on attention, engagement and effectiveness.
Network Seven was launching a brand-new "survivor-style" reality television show called "The Big Adventure" to Australian audiences and wanted to create passionate, engaged fans to drive ad revenues.
The specific objectives were:
TV viewers ages 25-54 were the primary audience, specifically, those interested in gaming and competitions, given the competitive nature of the reality TV show's format.
Adventure-based television can be very exciting to watch, but it is still a passive experience for those at home.
As the Chinese proverb states, “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.”
Charles Young from Ameritrust Research (source: Worldwide Advertising Research Centre) conclusively proved that experience and engagement are far more impactful metrics for target consumers who have brand-related experiences versus consumers who were just exposed to ads.
Therefore, the strategy focused on driving viewer experience, not just brand-message exposure.
Viewers at home who were engrossed in “The Big Adventure,” tended to envy the contestants. Viewers wanted to be the ones completing the island challenges and digging for keys in the treasure grid at the end of each episode with the hope of winning $1 million.
For this effort, viewers were able to complete in the exact same challenge as the reality TV contestants. The campaign leveraged owned assets on broadcast, the web and social media.
“The Big Adventure” was an expensive production -- filmed on a remote tropical island off Fiji. Toward the end of each episode, as a winning contestant digs for keys in the treasure grid, viewers at home were able to do the same. In real-time, campaign messages featured an embedded audio watermark in the TV show that “unlocked” viewers’ shovels on their phones, tablets or laptops.
The audio watermark ensured that viewers watched the TV episode live to unlock the shovel and be able to play, which increased the show’s ratings and required greater levels of attention to the whole program, including all advertising. Viewers could “dig” on their phones for a chance to win a prize.
The app also contained contestants’ biographies, the sponsors’ prize board, and a means to share scores via social media. Viewers could also check episode broadcast times and see how many competition entries they had collected.
This integrated app was the most successful TV app ever. “The Big Adventure” ranked No. 1 1 for all free apps in iOS and Android app stores for more days in 2014 than Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or any of the other more than 1.5 million apps.
In five weeks, the app had 254,000 downloads. The show averaged 622,000 metro viewers per episode, which meant that almost one in two viewers engaged deeply with the show and advertisers using the app.
Without a cent of promotion, the app was “played” in 125 countries, and at times, had 18,000 people playing per second.
Social reach was over 1.5 million including activity such as people sharing scores, instant wins and posts encouraging others to tune in. Each person played for 25 minutes across the campaign and dug 18 holes.