A few months ago I received a package from Klout and TBS that was a promotional effort for the cable network’s show Are We There Yet? Yesterday, I received another package from Klout, this time promoting TNT’s new series Falling Skies. I wanted to share with you what I got, and my thoughts on the effort.
The picture above is what the contents of the box looked like upon opening. There was also a manilla envelope as soon as I opened the box. Here’s everything that was included in the kit:
At the top left we have a canteen, with ’2nd Mass’ on it. To the right of it is a map of Boston (I assume this is where the series is set), then a 2nd Mass hat. At the bottom left is a simple backpack with Falling Skies logo on the inside under the flap, along with a letter explaining what the kit is about. Next we have a working compass, and finally at the bottom right there is what appears to be a child’s drawing of the aliens, dated June 19th.
The first thing I wanted to do was compare the contents of this kit to what I received from TBS and Klout for Are We There Yet? Remember that promotion simply included a Sony PSP with a 30-second commercial for the show. It essentially felt like TBS was giving me a cool toy hoping I would start watching and blogging/tweeting about Are We There Yet? as a result.
With this Alien Survival Kit from Falling Skies, the contents help to immerse me in the story. It positions it as if I am a character in the show, and I am trying to survive. And now I have a survival kit that’s going to help me. I think this kit does a far better job of building my interest in watching Falling Skies, than the TBS kit did in tempting me to watch Are We There Yet? And I am guessing the cost of the Falling Skies kit was at most half what the Sony PSP cost TBS.
Additionally, Falling Skies is trying to leverage social media and especially Twitter to build buzz in the show. The note I received with the kit included these instructions: “Here’s some gear to get you started. Remember, you must follow the twitter handle @2ndMass to receive weekly intel including Falling Skies sneak-peek videos and interactive activites. We will continue to send supplies as resources become available.
Retweet or talk about these experiences, episodes of the show and anything else Falling Skies related using the hashtag #fsincentivized to move up the rank.
You’ll track your progress on the Falling Skies: An Army of Influence leaderboard page at www.fallingskies.com/armyofinfluence. The top influencer at the end of this challenge will win a walk-role on an episode of Falling Skies, premiering Sunday, June 19 at 9/8c on TNT.”
And as you can see, the @2ndMass account is trying to involve twitter users in the storyline, and they are responding:
I love how TNT is trying to use Twitter to involve users in the storyline and connect with viewers. I was blogging about the need for television shows to do this freaking four years ago, and I hope Falling Skies will finally be an example that uses Twitter to expand the FUN of the show for its viewers and fans.
So I really like this kit. I think it’s got a ‘coolness’ factor and helps get influencers excited about the show. Plus the call to actions around connecting on Twitter is nicely done. Now having said that, there’s a few thing that I didn’t like about the kit that I’d like to point out:
1 – The kit arrived yesterday, June the 22nd. That’s 3 days after the premiere of Falling Skies. To me, it would have made much more sense to deliver these packages at least a week ago, to help build interest in the premiere.
2 – I wasn’t given any digital content to promote the show. This is a BIG mistake, IMO. What I think TNT should have done was include a Falling Skies jump drive that included at least a short video from Noah Wylie’s character explaining why I am getting the kit, why I am important to the resistance, whatever. And they could have included several pictures I could use in my blog posts and also, they should have included a copy of the premiere, so I could watch it. Doing so would have somewhat negated the fact that the kit didn’t arrive until after the premiere.
3 – This is a minor quibble, but the logo for Falling Skies isn’t visible on the backpack when it is closed, the flap covers it up. I would have put the logo on the outside, so that way people are more likely to ask me where I got it, then I can tell them the story about receiving the kit, how to follow the show on Twitter, etc.
Overall, I think this kit does a pretty good job of building interest in the show. Note again, that TNT positioned the content of the kit as a way to involve me in the storyline, and I think that’s far more effective than simply giving me a toy hoping I will blog/tweet about the show.
And I’ll say again, there is a HUGE amount of untapped potential for networks to connect directly with its show’s viewers via Twitter. As I blogged about a few weeks ago, TNT could easily start a #fallingskies Twitter chat to connect with viewers, and give them a chance to connect with each other.
If you received the same kit, what did you think of it? If you’ve been following how TNT is using Twitter, to connect with Falling Skies fans, what do you think of its efforts?
Note: Klout gave me this kit for free, and I was under no obligation to blog/tweet/mention its contents, and my getting the kit wasn’t dependent on my ever mentioning it.