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Consumers Reward 'Slumdog' for Online Tricks

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Slumdog Millionaire, fresh off its best-picture Oscar, appears to be winning over consumers with an online campaign for the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the movie.

“We’ve seen really good conversion rates,” said Mark Levien, executive director of digital at Fox Home Entertainment (FHE), the video distribution arm of 20th Century Fox. “People have been clicking on the ads and then going to where they can buy it.” (Levien declined to give specific sales numbers.)

Ads from the campaign employed a quiz-theme format – mimicking the film’s plot, which was based on an Indian version of one of America's most popular quiz shows. In a nod to that theme, participants were prompted to answer questions relating to the movie such as: “In Slumdog Millionaire, who is Jamal’s love interest?”

The ad also allowed them to participate in a slew of other activities. It let viewers create their own quizzes, check out bonus clips, read a synopsis of the film, flip through photo galleries, email friends to tell them about the DVD directly from the ad unit, and activate a calendar function to remind them of the release date.

The initiative ran from March 24 to April 7. Levien lauded its viral performance, as the ad included the ability to post a Slumdog quiz application to a viewer’s pages on social networking sites like Facebook. Levien said that 11 percent of the quiz takers on the app at the social networking sites ended up clicking through to entertain themselves with at least one of the aforementioned activities.

“There is a whole other experience in this ad unit that the viewer doesn’t even get on the official movie site,” Levien said. “And you can directly track each unique visit to all those different [rich media] sections.”

While moving DVDs was the end goal, Levien said, the ad was not necessarily geared to producing quick sales. “It’s important to understand that these ad units were on third-party sites – not the Slumdog site or the Fox site. So, the more engagement and impressions the users get in front of the brand, the more likely they are to purchase the product.”

Targeting an audience that skewed towards art-house taste in films, the ad appeared at NYTimes.com, Rotten Tomatoes, IMBD.com, Flixster and VideoEgg. Levien’s department teamed up with another Los Angeles-based operation, rich media technology provider Interpolls, to run the campaign. No matter where online they originated from, Levien said, 11 percent of the quiz takers on the app ended up clicking through to entertain themselves with at least one of the aforementioned activities.

Peter Kim, president and CEO of Interpolls, pointed out that the interactive nature of the ad units has been integral to keeping the movie’s brand name top-of-mind. “This is a way for marketers to [use] multiple engagement features within a single execution,” he said.