ABC Hopes ‘Mole’ Isn’t Just a Blip

May 30, 2008  •  Post A Comment

If you blinked, you might have missed some of ABC’s recent marketing efforts on behalf of returning reality show “The Mole.”
And we’re not speaking metaphorically, either.
With little fanfare, ABC in March began hyping “The Mole” with on-air ads that might just be among the shortest in TV history—as in, three frames and out.
Indeed, the spots were so short—basically no more than the show’s fingerprint logo—ABC’s marketing executives had to work with the network’s Standards & Practices department to make sure the ads weren’t confused with subliminal advertising (a big no-no in TV land).
“I was amazed at what you can register (with viewers) in three frames,” said ABC Executive VP for Marketing Mike Benson, explaining that the microspots—or “flash teases,” as he calls them—were designed with DVR viewers in mind. The thinking: Viewers who were fast-forwarding through commercials would be intrigued by the super-short spot and hit the rewind button to check out what they thought they just saw.
“We wanted people to say, ‘What’s this?’,” Mr. Benson said. “It’s about getting people to realize there’s a message there.”
The initial “flash teases” were so short, some affiliates actually called ABC to figure out what was going on.
“We got complaints from stations saying, ‘What was that? Was it a mistake?’” Mr. Benson said.
The campaign also got attention in the blogosphere, with viewers debating whether the ads were a legit campaign or just a mistake by an ABC engineer. “I thought maybe I was having a flashback stroke or something,” wrote one person commenting on a Gawker.com item about the spots.
Since launching the mini-ads in late March, ABC has expanded the marketing campaign for “The Mole” to include more traditional 30-second ads—as well as more subversive efforts.
The micro-ads have been expanded to movie theaters, with audiences now seeing one-second “Mole” flashes during the pre-show entertainment.
Online, ABC created a fake ad campaign for a bogus perfume called Deception that transforms into a pitch for “The Mole.”
Overall, the network doesn’t want to take any chances with its relaunch of the show, an in-house favorite that’s getting a rare second chance to find an audience after being canceled in 2004.
“We’re treating it as a brand-new show, and we’re educating people as to what the game is all about,” said Marla Provencio, who is co-head of ABC marketing with Mr. Benson. “We can’t assume anyone is going to be there.”


  1. The old “Max Headroom” show is becoming truer every day. Remember blipverts?
    Maybe by 2012 we’ll have tele-elections too.

  2. Yeah, I thought those blips were mistakes, too, the first few times I saw them during Dancing with the Stars. But I caught on as they kept appearing more often. It was pretty clever advertising, in my opinion. We fans are used to the secretive, “don’t blink” style of The Mole. For me, it called back the split-second clues, like the words “The Mole is Bill” hidden in the opening of one episode. You had to have very sharp eyes to catch it, and sharp eyes are a big part of this game. So, yeah, I thought the blips fit well, and I actually liked them more than the real commercials!

  3. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  4. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  5. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  6. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  7. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  8. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

  9. What a relief to determine a article that possibly will be at last in reality importance reading! I’ve been seeking all-around on the subject of this issue but men and women just put trash posts, or brief empty article. I have noticed a couple vids on youtube but it’s now the equal as reading a good article.

  10. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)