Twitter marketing: genuine works


It’s advertising du jour in the movie and television business to use banner ads and other eyeball-catching imagery on the web to promote your new movie or TV series.

Websites, too, employing all the latest audio-visual and social media magic to make the visitor experience as clickable as possible.

Here’s something new that caught my eye from two different but related perspectives – imagination and control.

The image you see here is a web ad promoting the Dollhouse TV series where the first season DVD is about to go on sale in the USA (and will do the same in the UK in mid September).

Note the texts at the bottom of the ad: “Roll over to go deeper” and “follow Eliza,” the actress Eliza Dushku who plays Echo, the lead character in the show.

The “follow Eliza” part is all about Twitter. If you roll over that part of the ad (click, in fact), you get a video; if you then click on the Twitter logo at the top of the image, you see this:


Next, if you want to send a tweet to Eliza and click on the ‘Sign in to Twitter’ button, you get this:


It’s then a simple matter to type and click – as this example shows, I did that and my tweet appeared in the tweetstream almost instantly:


It’s pretty imaginative, both in the concept of how Twitter is used by the TV show’s marketers as an integral element in overall communication outreach, as well as the technology underlying it.

The ad was created by EyeWonder, a US company who claims a leadership role in creating interactive digital advertising content.

The Dollhouse ad I’ve written about here is from an EyeWonder demo on this page – try it yourself.

So, nice imagination. Now we come to control.

Mark Levien, executive director of digital marketing at Fox Home Entertainment, the show’s producer, has this (rather sterile) quote in a report in Brand Republic:

[…] For ‘Dollhouse’ season one, we really wanted to engage users and give them the opportunity to become part of the ad experience. Eliza already has a loyal following, so allowing users to interact with her within an ad unit makes the brand engagement that much more relevant. With the Twitter function, we hope to foster real-time conversation among fans of the show and hopefully give those who haven’t seen it yet the opportunity to gain more insight into what it’s all about.

Hmm, if the demo indicates how the ad would work in the real world – I’ve not seen it anywhere yet: have you? – I’m not sure how “allowing users to interact with [Eliza] within an ad unit makes the brand engagement that much more relevant” actually works.

For instance, if you click almost anywhere on the ad once you’ve arrived at the Twitter part, you go to an page where the DVD is listed. Hardly interacting with Eliza, more to do with monetizing the DVD.

Not only that, there’s no means to go to Eliza’s actual Twitter page and break out of the controlled confines of the ad: nowhere is Eliza’s Twitter ID obviously visible.

elizapatricia Well, it is – she’s @ElizaPatricia – but I didn’t make the connection with that name immediately (ok, so I haven’t seen the show yet). And there’s no way you can get to that Twitter account from within the ad.

Still, I’m not going to spoil the party with more than that criticism.

I think the idea is great, and the fact that Fox are trying to connect the real person, Eliza Dushku, with fans via Twitter rather than with her fictitious character is smart.

For her part, Dushku looks like the real deal judging from the look of her tweets. No ‘remote celeb’ presence on Twitter with her as her profile very clearly indicates:

Be forewarned: I’m accused of speaking my own language here.

On the contrary, too, genuine-looking comments as she connects things with her work, which she clearly has passionate views about.

That’s the way forward for marketers, too: being genuine.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Caricature King

    Its all very good to get people to sign up and follow, but the *star needs to respond*, otherwise there is no interactivity, just activity on the part of the reader.
    ‘Engaging with the brand’ will be a result for the ad agency, but do nothing for anyone else, least of all the fans.

    • J P Burton

      Eliza does an excellent job of responding to tweets. Most of her tweets are about days on the set, her charity work in Africa, or just taking us along on whatever ride she’s on at the moment. She’s fun to follow.

  2. TwitEcho « Chris Thilk

    […] Posted in Advertising Marketing PR, TV by CThilk on July 27, 2009 Neville Hobson walks through just how the interactive ad for “Dollhouse” Season One DVDs and their integration of […]

  3. dale s

    Interesting. But, I’ve just seen a beta demo of a Twitter conversational ad unit that is the next step up. The User/Follower can engage in a conversation with what appears to be a human, but is an artificially intelligent character representing a human within Twitter.

    It was not possible within the limitations of 140 characters to distinguish between real and not real. Very clever.


    There is also for automatic Twitter marketing activities. Early adopters pay the low price of just £1/month – the cheapest Twitter marketing tool by far! New features are being added and the price will increase soon – register now to be sure of paying a lower price forever.

Comments are closed.