The WB Television Network has a new toy for promoting its shows among its key teen/young adult demographic: viral marketing and desktop applications, courtesy of New York-based Gizmoz, Inc.
Gizmoz makes an program that displays streaming video and sound, animation and text. Because the Gizmo is a so-called “thin app” — a small shell of a program that contains remotely updated content, it’s small enough to be downloaded quickly or e-mailed to friends. In fact, that’s what Gizmoz, which focuses on the entertainment industry, hopes to encourage by adding “Mail to a Friend” buttons. The Gizmo application can also be posted on users’ personal home pages.
Through its work for The WB, Gizmoz will produce “The WB Insider” Gizmo. The program will contain daily news and behind-the-scenes information about The WB’s shows, characters and stars, as well as program lineups, trailers for upcoming shows, and links to TheWB.com.
Additionally, the product will feature a daily giveaway with prizes that include electronics, fashion and accessory items, CDs, home videos and exclusive items autographed by The WB’s stars. While it seems unlikely to broaden the network’s demographic, the idea is that existing fans of “Dawson’s Creek” and “Felicity” will use their Gizmos daily to get the scoop on the programs, which will encourage them to tune in to the network and potentially view other shows. In fact, the network is already releasing details about and beginning to market its upcoming Fall 2001 season.
“Gizmoz are an incredibly exciting new technology,” said Nancie Martin, who is senior vice president for new media at the network. “We believe Gizmoz’s viral capabilities and continual outreach are powerful ways to reach our core audience of teens and young adults, who are quick to adopt new concepts. Gizmoz also make it easy to remind viewers of our programming schedule, and are a terrific way to implement our ‘Everyday Giveaway.'”
It’s the first time that Gizmoz has been tapped by a television network; previously, the company’s efforts have focused on promoting upcoming music and movie releases, like the new album by Artemis Records’ Kittie and Sony Pictures’ “Joe Dirt”.
“We believe that The WB Insider Gizmo will be a tremendously successful part of their marketing effort,” said Gizmoz co-founder and chief executive Eyal Gever. “I know that the network and its online division will see a great benefit, as the Gizmo will allow them to foster a real sense of community with their fans. I’m sure they will see tremendous viral growth of their Gizmo campaign, as they have an audience of fans who are passionate about their network.”