TiVo Gets Sappy With Roamio Campaign

Love is in the airwaves

TiVo is getting back in the advertising game, and it's feeling very romantic.

After abstaining from running a campaign since 2010, the on-demand brand began in August of this year teasing its new Roamio product with a series of non-traditional executions. Now, it's gearing up for a paid push launching in mid-October, appearing in digital and out-of-home media, behind which the brand says it will put a dollar amount numbering in the high seven figures.

Roamio combines, in a single device, shows and other video content from their cable providers with that from digital providers like Amazon and Netflix. The box currently lets users stream that content to smartphones and tablets over their home networks. Also in October, the brand is expanding the service to let users stream the same content from anywhere with a WiFi signal.

The campaign, on which Minneapolis-based agency Olson is helping the brand, extends the play on words in the product's name, as well as the box's features. The portmanteau will come to life in the October push as a polyamorous character who, naturally, loves television, and is comfortable with multiple partners.

That's consistent with the August push, which saw Roamio posting "Missed Connections" ads on Craigslist in some 10 different cities, including New York and Los Angeles, which, in keeping with the genre, don't hold much back. "You know you want me," reads one. "Fun, playful, sexy, and smart … I do it all, and I'm into just about anything. I bet you can turn me on. I'll let you push my buttons."

Dial a number posted at the end of the classified ads, and encounter a male voice, recorded in a bad fake French accent. "Oh my darling finally we meet, I am here to satisfy your every need," he says, before going on to invite the listener to press the number 1 to enter to win a free six-month subscription to Netflix. The line received some 6,000 calls in the first couple weeks of the campaign, says the brand.

In other words, it might start to feel like an advertiser trying to push the limits of a single pun as far as possible—and then beyond the point of any reasonable human tolerance. TiVo also sent roses and chocolates to business partners like HBO. It paired up with group dating startup Grouper to arrange TV-themed parties. It included hand-written notes in deliveries of older products, with surprise upgrades to the new box, and lines of copy like "You're going to love Roamio. Because it makes all other stuff of its type look like old Soviet surplus."

The brand's executives weren't immune to the fact that the campaign might come across as cheesy, though. "It's easy as marketers to sit in a boardroom and roll your eyes at some of that stuff," says Steve Wymer, TiVo's vp of corporate communications. "The reality is people like it, and I'm glad we took that risk."

Well, people — do you like it?