Posted by: Trey Sims | April 11, 2011

#ComedyAwards Use Cross-Platform Marketing

Tonight as I sat in front of my television expecting not to pick up anything significant, I realized Comedy Central was putting on a clinic for successful cross-platform marketing right in front of my face. If you didn’t get a chance to watch, tonight is the first annual Comedy Awards hosted by Comedy Central. With all other award shows shrouded in tradition and anticipation, the Comedy Awards faced the challenge of being viewed as a legitimate award show and attracting viewers to a brand-new production. The station’s solution to this dilemma was resourceful and effective in achieving exactly what they needed.

Tucked on the bottom right side of the screen for the entirety of the award show was the hashtag “#comedyawards”. The message was subtle, but noticeable, and immediately drove me to click over to Twitter and see if the topic was trending. Sure enough, the #ComedyAwards hashtag was at the top of the trending topics list as a promoted tweet, thus ensuring its visibility. This promotion acts on us as consumers in a couple of ways. First, the promoted tweet drives twitter users who had no idea that the Comedy Awards were being held tonight to turn on their TVs and join the online discussion. Second, the televised hashtag draws people already watching the award show to their computers to join the online discussion and share their impressions on the show with the online community. So far, the messages being shared on twitter have been exceptionally positive, as many viewers are lauding the awards and sharing quotes from their favorite comedians.

While this strategy has had a positive impact on Comedy Central’s Comedy Awards tonight, this tactic sets the tone for cross-platform marketing and the future of social media implementation on a massive scale. With the increasing amount of people watching TV  and surfing the web simultaneously, online discussions in and around television programs are quickly becoming an integral part of our viewing experience. Hashtags and Facebook links have steadily making their way into commercials, but Comedy Central was able to facilitate an online discussion for hours during the Comedy Awards while leaving a lasting impression on Twitter for hours after the show is over.

While it is not quite a free promotional tool, Comedy Central effectively placed the Comedy Awards on Twitter and let the viewers promote the awards for them with positive tweets, rather than just relying on an expansive ad campaign. This is where companies will find value in social media (especially Twitter) and many companies and television stations will seek to catalyze online discussions as a massive promotional tool. The Comedy Awards displayed how effective this strategy can be, but look for others to take cross-platform a few steps further in the near future, making it more expansive and more effective.

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