This Sunday, users of The New York Times iPad app will get an extensive introduction to Showtime’s latest TV series, Ray Donovan. The Times is partnering with the cable network to introduce the newest mobile ad experiment to come out of its Idea Lab, a full iPad takeover campaign for the show's Sunday night premiere.
The takeover, developed in partnership with mobile ad platform Medialets, won’t be subtle. All of the app’s banner ads and full-page interstitial units will automatically play videos (albeit silently) promoting the show. When they expanding the units, viewers will see interactive trailers providing more information about the series and its characters and links to download the show’s premiere episode, theme song, or Showtime app.
In an interview with Mashable, Todd Haskell, the Times’ group vp of advertising, didn't seem worried about the ads coming off as invasive. “Historically, whenever we do something somewhat outside the box…readers love it. We're confident readers will find this beautiful and well done.”
The Times has run desktop site homepage takeovers to promote TV shows in the past—like an ad for FX’s The Americans that showed a fake version of the Times in Russian and a promo for Nat Geo’s Killing Lincoln that reproduced the Times’ front page from 1865—but this will be the first time a full takeover has been used on the iPad app. Haskell told Mashable that the video-heavy approach is an ideal fit for the iPad, where readers are likelier to watch more videos, spend more time per session, and engage more deeply.