REVOLUTIONARY INTERACTIVE MARKETING ENDEAVOR CONCLUDES, MAKING "THE LOST EXPERIENCE" ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE MULTI-PLATFORM CAMPAIGNS IN TELEVISION HISTORY
ABC Television Network, United Kingdom's Channel 4 and Australia's Seven Network Responsible for the Global Initiative
Jeep, Monster, Sprite and Verizon Were Exclusive Sponsors
ABC's revolutionary marketing endeavor "The Lost Experience" concluded on September 24, making it one of the most unique campaigns in television history, with millions of people participating worldwide. The campaign, which began in May, was based on the international hit television series "Lost." Jointly conceived with Channel 4 Television in the UK and Australia's Seven Network "The Lost Experience," was designed to further enhance viewers' relationship with the program and incorporated over twenty broadcasters from five continents, making it the largest global interactive challenge based on a television series.
An alternate reality meta-episode, "The Lost Experience" followed a parallel storyline not featured in the television broadcast and was designed so that both fans of the series and those unfamiliar with the show could participate and bridge the gap between Seasons Two and Three. The experience provided insight to unlock some of the island's secrets for those savvy enough to collect the clues, make the connections and find the answers.
With the cooperation of ABC, Channel 4 UK, Channel 7 and Yahoo!7 in Australia, major sponsors Jeep, Monster, Sprite and Verizon, as well as dozens of other countries and advertisers/media outlets, "The Lost Experience" unfolded in five major phases involving a synergistic blend of internet sites, dial-in numbers, video and text blogs, fan-sites, real world appearances, television commercial spots, product tie-ins, newspaper/magazine ads and stories, podcasts, live radio broadcasts, the Gary Troup novel "Bad Twin," audience participation, global scavenger hunts and, finally, a simultaneous worldwide internet stream of a video package revealing the truth behind the actions of The Hanso Foundation.
Highlights of the experience included the appearance of the computer hacker "Rachel Blake" at San Diego Comic-Con, the worldwide distribution of Apollo Bars, and the reveal of the meaning behind the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.
"'The Lost Experience' was truly a unique event unlike any other marketing initiative," said Michael Benson, senior vice president, Marketing, ABC Entertainment. "We're incredibly pleased with the outcome and our media and advertising partners. They went above and beyond to make this a multi-platform program that lived in the 'real world' for fans of 'Lost' and all of the participants."
Tracy Blacher, head of Marketing - New Media at Channel 4, said: "This was a bold and ambitious campaign which harnessed the enormous power of new media and allowed fans to participate directly in unraveling some of the mysteries of 'Lost' for the first time. The multi-media and global approach was a huge success and allowed International fans the chance to work together in real time."
"'The Lost Experience' is the perfect example of taking a TV audience and building an active community online," said Cricket Wardein, Marketing director at Yahoo!7. "It was essentially a creative way to get viewers to not only interact with the 'Lost' brand but each other."
The exclusive sponsors of "The Lost Experience," Jeep, Monster, Sprite and Verizon, all had unique sites and participation highlighted below:
* To assist in launching the 2007 Jeep Compass, DaimlerChrysler and Jeep created a fictional employee, William T. Kirkpatrick (WTK), who cancels a fleet order by the Hanso Foundation when he learns the vehicles are to be used for less-than-noble purposes. WTK then offered to help Rachel Blake by allowing her to post information and videos in Jeep materials (Jeep.com, YouTube Jeep Channel and Print Ads) and at www.Letyourcompassguideyou.com. WTK also provided Rachel with a Jeep Compass to asist in her crusade across Europe, and Jeep served as the official vehicle of the Apollo Candy company. "Integrating the 2007 Jeep Compass into 'The Lost Experience' provided us with a unique opportunity to launch this all-new vehicle into the marketplace," said Jay Kuhnie, director, Jeep Communications. "The Jeep Compass is designed to appeal to customers who are younger and more tech-savvy than a traditional Jeep owner, but who still enjoy adventure and entertainment. 'The Lost Experience' works for us because it speaks both to those customers and to the core values of the Jeep brand."
* Monster connected with one of television's most engaged and devoted fan bases, and presented participants with a chance to see its range of job search tools and resources first-hand, as they navigated www.monster.com in search of clues. In addition, the career site for the Hanso Foundation was created by Monster and featured the company's core job search technology. Vicki Godfrey, VP of Advertising, Monster, said, "'The Lost Experience' was a great opportunity because we became an integral part of the endeavor -- people were able to see the services Monster offers in an unobtrusive way as we were able to build upon the storyline via fun challenges."
* Sprite seamlessly integrated the launch of its new Sublymonal brand campaign with "The Lost Experience." Consumers were directed to a teaser site, http://www.sublymonal.com, by a Hanso Foundation public service announcement that ran during a first-run episode of "Lost." Sprite then took consumers along a winding narrative that chronicled the mysterious origins of Sublymonal and interspersed character Rachel Blake's quest for truth through shredded memos and podcasts unlocked by banner ads, and even sign language video messages.
* Verizon showcased the company's emerging position as a leading broadband and entertainment provider. Verizon's site, www.richerdeeperbroader.com, was the principal destination for all clues which included video and audio clips, as well as text clues, encouraging visitors to explore and engage as they searched within various pages of the site and at www.retrieversoftruth.com. Verizon created a fuller experience for the ABC fans by aligning the company with the story and leveraging many of the hottest sites on the Internet today. Verizon not only disseminated clues but also keep the fans satiated by delivering the experience into daily online activities. "This has been the most complex and interesting non-traditional marketing endeavor we've engaged in so far," said Brian P. Price, executive director of Verizon's Online Center of Excellence. "Online and 'beyond-the-commercial' marketing and advertising are in their infancy. Blending in the whole gaming concept, where we already are engaging our younger customers, adds yet another dimension that's attractive to a company like Verizon."
After Oceanic Air flight 815 tore apart in mid-air and crashed on a Pacific island, its survivors were forced to find inner strength they never knew they had in order to survive. But they discovered that the island holds many secrets, including a mysterious smoke monster, polar bears, a strange French woman and another group of island residents known as "The Others." The survivors have also found signs of those who came to the island before them, including a 19th-century sailing ship, The Black Rock, the remains of an ancient statue and bunkers belonging to the Dharma Initiative, a group of scientific researchers.
"Lost" stars Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Mr. Eko, Naveen Andrews as Sayid, Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond, Emilie de Ravin as Claire, Michael Emerson as Ben, Matthew Fox as Jack, Jorge Garcia as Hurley, Josh Holloway as Sawyer, Daniel Dae Kim as Jin, Yunjin Kim as Sun, Evangeline Lilly as Kate, Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet, Dominic Monaghan as Charlie and Terry O'Quinn as Locke.
"Lost"was created by Jeffrey Lieber and J.J. Abrams & Damon Lindelof. Abrams, Lindelof, Bryan Burk, Jack Bender, Jeff Pinkner and Carlton Cuse serve as executive producers. "Lost," which is filmed entirely on location in Hawaii and premiered on September 22, 2004, is from Touchstone Television.
"Lost" is the fastest-selling TV series in Buena Vista International Television's (BVITV) history, having been licensed in over 210 territories worldwide. Across countries such as Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and Russia, "Lost" has consistently been No. 1 in its timeslot. In the UK, "Lost" delivered Channel 4's biggest-ever audience for a U.S. series launch, and on Seven Australia it was consistently one of the top two series on the network and held the second-biggest premiere in Australia's television history. The series has been a Top 3 U.S. series on free TV channels in every international territory it has aired.