Conan O'Brien's newest play for branded content is a mobile game that's subtly an ad for AT&T.
Today, Turner-owned TBS is launching the Catch Coco app that fans can use to follow along with the late-night host's trip to New York where he's filming the show at the famed Apollo Theater this week. Dan Riess, evp of content partnerships for Turner Ignite, said the game is "kind of like Pokemon Go for Conan."
The location-based app lets people near 15 famous locations in New York—including the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and Yankee Stadium—unlock content. To tie into AT&T's sponsorship, one of the locations is the telecom company's store in midtown Manhattan at 57th Street and Eighth Avenue.
Once someone approaches a location, the app shows an image of O'Brien eating one of 15 different deli sandwiches, and his characters have names to match, like Tuna Melt Conan. To "catch" the character, users have to throw items like O'Brien's famous Eisenhower mug at it—Pokemon Go style.
There's also a way for people who aren't in New York to play. Using push notifications, the app unlocks one character per day that people can collect. The app also includes a sweepstakes in which fans can win merchandise tickets to shows.
O'Brien teased the integration last week and will talk about it more during Tuesday's show. There's also a digital hub on O'Brien's website, TeamCoco.com, with links to download the app and social posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
"Generally with technology, [Conan] takes a goof on it," Reiss said. "We've gotten into a really great rhythm with Conan and his team and us working together with AT&T and coming up with all kinds of new ideas. It runs the gamut, but there's a really good example of the message that they're trying to get across, which is the possibility of technology, the network and fun. And what Conan wants to get across because he's been a digital trailblazer."