Fox Teams Up With Amazon To Promote “24” Reboot Via Echo

What Happened
Fox network has struck a deal with Amazon to promote the premiere of the franchise’s “24: Legacy” reboot, which will air immediately after Sunday’s Super Bowl game. As part of the promotion, Echo users can set their alarm sound to the trademark “24” ticking-clock sound effect starting this Monday. This is the first time Amazon has created a branded built-in function for the Echo devices. The Alexa alarm tie-in will also be featured on Amazon’s homepage as a top carousel ad this Sunday.

Moreover, starting Wednesday, March 1, Fox and Amazon will launch the “24: Legacy Daily Mission,” a mini-game that challenges Echo users with a 24-second-long challenge every day. Users will be quizzed with themed questioned or asked to perform quick exercise routines such as jumping jacks or push-ups by Alexa.

What Brands Need To Do
This is the latest example of brands exploring Amazon Echo speakers as a potential marketing channel, as well as a good example of how an entertainment brand can leverage Echo devices to reach customers in their living rooms. Last week, Sony Pictures created a cross-platform chatbot based on a character from its “ Resident Evil” franchise to promote its upcoming flick. While the “Daily Challenge” mini-game may seem trivial, it offers a good sticking point that will keep reminding viewers of the show and hopefully help with audience retention.

As a first attempt, Fox sets a clear path for other brands at employing Echo devices, Alexa, and Amazon’s online properties as part of an integrated marketing campaign. As more and more customers start to embrace conversational devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, their development as emerging marketing channels is something that all brands need to pay heed to.\

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces, including the NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia. We’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue, which aims to help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related clients and learning opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Variety

Fox Leverages Live Snapcode Activation To Drive Viewer Engagement

What Happened
During last night’s live broadcast of the remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fox placed three Snapcodes as bumpers between ads and the broadcast. For the uninitiated, Snapcodes are essentially QR codes made by Snapchat that people can scan using the app. Viewers were invited to scan the Snapcodes on their TV to unlock special Rocky Horror-themed selfie Lenses on Snapchat. This marks the first time a TV network has incorporated Snapcodes into a live broadcast.

What Brands Should Do
One reason Fox decided to put Snapcodes in its live broadcast is that it wants to engage the significant number of Millennials who are going to midnight shows of the original Rocky Horror movie and watched the trailer for its remake according to its research. This activation sets a precedent for TV networks using Snapcodes to make their broadcast more interactive and engaging, opening the door for more brands to use Snapcodes for their own TV ads.


Source: AdWeek

Mondelēz Inks Deal With Fox To Tackle Ad Avoidance

What Happened
Snack giant Mondelēz International has struck a deal with Fox to tackle the increasing usage of ad blockers. Beyond simply buying ad inventory, the deal will center on an effort by Mondelēz to leverage Fox’s TrueX ad platform and content initiatives that cut through the clutter. As part of the deal, Mondelēz is working with Fox to create new ad formats for VOD and streaming on Fox’s website and Hulu, and it is experimenting with TrueX’s engagement ads, which allow viewers to interact with one ad at the start of viewing in exchange for watching content ad-free. Also, Mondelēz will be developing branded content to reach the Fox audience.

What Brands Need To Do
The latest study from the IAB reports that 26% of desktop users and 15% of mobile consumers are using ad blockers to avoid seeing ads on websites. This Mondelēz-Fox deal is representative of some the necessary steps that brands can take to collaborate with media companies to improve their ad experiences and ensure their ads are viewed. For more information on how brands can fight the increasing usage of ad-blockers, check out the Ad Avoidance section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdAge

20th Century Fox Pulls A One-Two Punch On Snapchat For X-Men Movie

What Happened
To promote the upcoming X-Men movie, 20th Century Fox launched a twofold campaign on Snapchat to engage with young-skewing users. The movie studio bought the first-ever Snapchat Lens takeover ad, which replaced all the Snapchat selfie lenses on Monday with X-Men-themed lenses that transform users into nine different X-Men characters. More importantly, 20th Century Fox also purchased ads in Discover channels to encourage users to purchase tickets for the movie. The vertical video ads prompt users to swipe up, revealing a page where they can put in their zip codes and be redirected to Fandango’s site to buy tickets for showings at their local theaters.

What Brands Need To Do
Using the Lens takeover to raise awareness for the movie and the direct response ads in Discover to drive ticket purchases, 20th Century Fox devised a clever one-two punch on Snapchat to reach its over 100 million daily active users. Snapchat has been improving its ad products to court brand advertisers, introducing shoppable ads earlier this month and improving its ad measurement with a ComScore partnership. This X-Men campaign provides a good example of how brands looking to advertise on Snapchat can utilize the ad products Snapchat offers and devise an effective campaign.


Source:  Ad Exchanger

Apple TV Extends Universal Search To 3 New Apps

What Happened
Apple launched the 4th generation Apple TV last October, which allows viewers to search for keywords across content channels using Siri. At launch, only iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime had universal search compatibility, and PBS was added to the list last month. Now, three new apps has joined the roster as the tvOS apps from FOX, FX, and National Geographic added support for this crucial discovery feature.

In related news, Apple is reportedly in talks with the NFL for the streaming rights of its “Thursday Night Football’ games. While earlier reports indicated that Apple had been “frustrated” by the difficult negotiations with media owners to get live TV content, the latest news suggest that Apple is still actively trying to get content for its own rumored OTT service.

What Brands Need To Do
As new TV interfaces shift away from a rigid programming grid to time-shifted, on-demand viewing, universal search becomes a crucial feature that makes it possible for viewers to discover content on channels (aka apps) that they weren’t typically looking at. As Apple continues to build out its Apple TV ecosystem, brands should take the initiative to properly index their content to prepare for its expanding universal search support.

For more information on how brands can reach viewers on digital platforms with branded content, check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Wall Street Journal

How The Shifting TV Landscape Caused Mindy’s Cancellation

The TV Upfronts are coming up next week, and reports on the fate of your favorite broadcast TV shows are popping up. The first big surprise cancellation came yesterday when Fox announced that The Mindy Project will not be coming back for a fourth season on the network, making it the first show in seven years to be axed with over 66 episodes under its belt.

Typically, when a network show reaches such numbers, the prospect of lucrative syndication deals would prompt the networks to grant shows with low ratings another season to produce sufficient episodes so as to bulk up its leverage in syndication negotiations. And that’s the way it’s always been done.

But with the recent rise of OTT streaming services disrupting the TV landscape, that rule seems to no longer apply. In this new circumstance, Universal Studios, which produces the show, could easily ship the show off to a streaming service where it can attract a niche audience and cumulate more episode counts, rather than negotiating with Fox to find the show a burn-off time slot for cheap.

And that’s exactly what they are doing – the Mindy Kaling comedy seems to be heading to Hulu, as sources report that the streaming service, partially owned by Fox and NBC Universal, is already in talks to acquire the show for multiple new seasons. If true, Mindy would join high-profile series in development at Hulu as the streaming service bulks up on original content to compete for audience attention.

The Lab has always been fascinated by the shifting landscape of the TV business, and we have been closely following the ongoing trend towards OTT streaming viewing. Come talk to us if you are a media owner or simply want to understand the changing audience behaviors and how to reach the fragmented viewers.

Fox is Growing At Home

To mirror a five percent rise in the home video market, Fox’s home video earnings are up as well.  Total revenue of the media giant is up 14 percent from last year, at $9.54 billion, with the driving force behind the growth in home video being digital services like Hulu.  Digital rentals and Blu Ray are also experiencing bumps offsetting the decline in other formats.  The future is encouraging for Fox’s line of digital services as the recent profitable bump shows.

Fox finds new, savvy uses for Twitter

Fox finds new, savvy use for Twitter (Fringe, Fox)Yet another cute Twitter name for leveraging the micro-blogging solution has emerged this week with Fox’s “Tweet-peats” which refers to the behind the scenes tweets on about certain Fox  shows during repeat broadcasts.

Both “Fringe” and “Glee” stars and creators will initially participate and dole out commentary through Twitter while fox re-broadcasts those shows to set the stage for the fall season.  In a UK interactive television style, these tweets can be followed online but will also appear via a scroll near the bottom of the screen providing commentary on the episodes, revealing behind-the-scenes details and answering fan questions.   Fans can sign  up at and to follow the event.

From a engaging an audience perspective, this is a brilliant strategy for stirring up interest in two shows that Fox has heavy hopes on for the fall season as well as seeing what fan chatter can be leveraged into a consumer research play. Continue reading “Fox finds new, savvy uses for Twitter”