The digital age is forcing television brands to look at content and audience in an entirely new way. Today, viewers want the power to control what they watch, and when – which is antithetical to how television programming has traditionally worked. For decades, audiences were supposed to build their schedules around their favorite programming, and sit through blocks of commercials. However, thanks to Tivo, DVRs, and online sites such as Hulu, those days are over.
Consequently, television brands, much like print brands, are struggling with changing technologies and paradigms, though one brand – Adult Swim, a cartoon network for adults – appears to be adjusting better than the others. The brand is adopting a strategy to satisfy viewers who want greater involvement – by involving them.[more]
Adult Swim is hosting an online campaign through early March that features eight full-length pilot episodes. Online viewers will be able to watch the pilot episodes and then vote on their favorites. The winner will be aired on Adult Swim’s cable channel with the option of becoming a full series.
Furthermore, the promotions are being bundled with Burger King and the brand’s popular motto, “Have it your way.” Burger King is even promoting a microsite where Adult Swim fans can watch the pilots and cast their votes – just as they would on Adult Swim’s website. In May, the Adult Swim and Burger King will team up again to promote a contest where one participant will program a whole evening of Adult Swim’s TV channel content.
Adult Swim has been open to off-the-wall advertising and branding methods, sometimes to a fault – in 2007, an Aqua Teen Hunger Force show promotion in Boston created a bomb scare. This latest strategy, however, is a sensible effort to integrate the brand’s online and on-air presences – all by asking viewers an obvious question: What do you want?