A Sweet Interactive Campaign for MTV Networks

Jul 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Rumors that interactive advertising is on the way seem finally to be worth believing.
MTV Networks said Cadbury will be running an interactive campaign on its tween-targeting network The N.
Although the cable industry is trying to get coordinated through its ballyhooed Project Canoe, this campaign for Cadbury’s Sour Patch Kids candy can be interacted with only by viewers on Dish Network.
The campaign will appear during episodes of The N’s reality series “Queen Bees,” which premieres Friday. According to studies, reality viewers are suckers for interactivity, and the campaign will give them an opportunity to respond to items on the screen using their remote controls while the show is going on.
“By participating in this exciting and innovative opportunity, we’re taking our Sour Patch brand advertising to the next level,” said Sebastian Genesio, Sour Patch marketing director. “The content on ‘Queen Bees’ is a natural fit for Sour Patch and reinforces the brand’s sour then sweet brand equity in a target-right medium.”
Viewers will be asked three on-screen questions in each episode of the series. In one example, viewers will be shown a picture of a person and asked if they’re sour or sweet (two of the candy’s attributes). Those questions will be asked right before a commercial break. The results will appear right after the break, in an attempt to encourage viewers not to channel-surf but to watch the ads the network is airing.
That’s important to MTV Networks, because its younger-skewing channels had some of the highest rates of remote control usage. Interactive is one of a number of techniques the company is using to increase the number of viewers who watch the commercials that air in its shows.
For Cadbury, at least one question each week will include an attribute to its candy, and there will be Sour Patch Kids imagery all around.
“We’re working hard to reinvent commercial time as content time, and interactive television is emerging as a strong tool for fostering engagement with our audiences, while providing greater accountability to marketers,” said Hank Close, president of U.S. ad sales at MTV Networks.
“This partnership signals that we’re open for business in iTV advertising, and we’re excited to step into the marketplace with great partners like Dish Network and Cadbury.”
Dish Network has been working for a while on using its platforms for a variety of new-media interactive applications with advertisers and networks.
“For more than seven years Dish Network has been a leader in iTV, and we are excited to continue our innovative work with MTV Networks and Cadbury to build the next platform of interactivity between audience, programmer and marketer,” said Michael Kelly, Dish’s executive VP. “‘Queen Bees’’ unique application creates a new level of connectivity, which complements the programming, pleases the viewer and provides valuable data for the client.”
This isn’t the first time MTV Networks has employed interactive technology. In 2006, it did some polling during The N’s series “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” More than 30% of the network’s viewers participated in the polling, above the industry average, which it pegs at 10% to 15%.
Spike TV’s fifth annual “Video Game Awards” showed a 20% increase in ratings when it added iTV polling in 2007. The participation rate among viewers of the award show was 30%, and viewers spent an average of 30 minutes responding to questions, MTV Networks said.
“Our audiences really respond to iTV and we’ve been out in front with our distribution partners, putting our brands behind advancing this emerging technology,” said Denise Dahldorf, executive VP for content distribution and marketing at MTV Networks. “Dish Network has been an industry leader in iTV, and this partnership brings the power of our programming to their innovative platform.”


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