Today's New York Times reports an interesting marketing move by NBC, starring Alec Baldwin.
Tens of thousands of fans of the NBC show “30 Rock” (or their friends or colleagues) have had the unusual experience over the last week of picking up their phones to hear the voice of Alec Baldwin addressing them by name and wishing them a happy holiday.
The messages are recorded, but the recipients can hear Baldwin wish them a happy holiday while revealing personal information about things like hobbies, jobs, homes, and their personal appearance (e.g. "I am not above telling you that you have a nice behind.")
The Times likens the experience to a good ole game of Mad-Libs where those visiting the 30 Rock website are offered a variety of sound choices previously recorded by Baldwin (he recorded about 500 first names in a recording session).
The company behind this is Varitalk, and if the campaign sounds familiar, Samuel L. Jackson used it to promote this summer's film "Snakes on a Plane." Tyra Banks also recorded a similar campaign for the CW network. It also brings to mind the Ari Gold experience on HBO's Entourage web site.
An interesting article in today's WSJ chronicles Conde Nast's efforts to get serious online. It focuses on the company's efforts to launch flip.com, a web site for teenage girls. The site will encourage girls to create "flip books," scrap books containing pictures, videos, music and more. Flip has apparently co-opted a group of girls to advise on what's cool, and the so-called "flip squad" has been meeting every other week with CondeNet executives.
The site is being seen by Conde as a complement to MySpace. Interestingly, Nielsen/NetRatings estimates that 5,719,000 girls, ages 12-17, visited MySpace in November. I think that roughly equates with visits to this blog. How to latch on successfully to this demo has had traditional media brands questioning everything. Earlier this year Teen People and ELLEgirl actually ceased offering printed versions of the publications.
Advertisers and sponsors are obviously being courted. There will be an "image bin" where advertiser logos will be available for inclusion in individual flip books. Of course, there's always a potential disaster on every page where brand images collide with user generated content. But it's a risk that brands appear willing to take on this site, which will be heavily monitored. Johnson & Johnson is interested in using the site because it will permit them to make use of user generated content under the umbrella of a tried and true media brand.
A Year End List Worth Checking.... The Bivings Report does a nice year ender of sites which you really should check out. Cool stuff.