The networks and advertisers need a way to keeps fans watching commercials. ABC and CBS are trying some interactive games that may work. ABC is targeting the Lost fan base with a game that might keep fans happy and will defiantly keep advertisers happy.
ABC’s Lost game may be aimed more at keeping viewers from skipping commercials or watching in commercial free downloads than actually trying to connect to fans. ABC has been showing Hanso Foundation commercials which have phone numbers or websites that give clues to the game. But all the fake commercials connect to real products like Sprite or Verizon, who pay for the Hanso spots.
CNN Money asks several interesting points about the validity of the game.
So the question that begs to be asked is will the "Lost Experience" actually be an effective marketing tool for advertisers that are tired of seeing their 30-second spots skipped by viewers with a digital video recorder and an itchy remote-control trigger finger?"
Advertisers are starting to think more like a programmer. How do I create content that people will watch?" said Tracey Scheppach, vice president and video innovations director for Starcom USA, a media buying firm.
ABC isn’t the only network trying to keep ad money with an interactive approach. CBS’s Gold Rush interactive game takes a similar approach. I’ve posted about Gold Rush before. The main question is; are these games going to work or will this just drive viewers farther away? They might be seen as overexposure in the case of Lost. ABC has already done lots of promotion for the show with fake websites and recently a fake novel Bad Twin. Is it too much?
But do fans want more information packaged alongside messages telling them to "Obey their Thirst?" One of the "Lost Experience" sites is called subLYMONal, which is a reference to the so-called lemon-lime (hence lymon) taste of Sprite.
"This blends into entertainment and product integration," said Scheppach. "I would hate to see it forced, where advertising feels unnatural in terms of the viewer experience. How deeply can you embed advertising messages in 'Lost' programming?"
I wonder how far viewers will let it go. I think product placement actually appearing on the Lost island would probably be too much.