Microsoft Advertising, the ad solutions arm of the company, will provide a simultaneous three-screen ad campaign for the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” television series. The advertising campaign, which spans MSN, MSN Mobile, Windows Live Hotmail, Microsoft Live Search, and Xbox LIVE, is designed for the premiere of the fifth season of the channel’s reality series about crab fishing in the waters off Alaska.
According to Microsoft, Discovery chose to devote the show’s entire online advertising budget to this campaign. The main advertising push will be happening across Microsoft’s Media Network on April 14, 2009, when the new season debuts at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Discovery Channel.
Discovery has purchased more than 90% of the advertising inventory owned on MSNBC, Fox Sports, MSN, MSN Mobile, and Xbox LIVE for April 14 and will feature the first-ever home page conjunction takeover across MSN and MSN Mobile.
The campaign, says Microsoft, will involve a variety of Microsoft-developed video, mobile, and interactive media, as well as in-game advertising assets supported by Microsoft subsidiary Massive Inc.
The campaign is spread over seven distinct audience engagement scenarios:
MSN Home Page. On the day of the premiere, April 14, Discovery will reach MSN’s audience base worldwide by executing a home page takeover using rich, interactive over-the-page ads. This custom execution is being developed by Microsoft’s Premier Media Group and will accomplish several firsts on the MSN home page, such as setting DVR reminders for fans, updating their calendar, and sending text alerts and e-mails.
MSN Video and MSNBC Video. Throughout the life of the campaign, the “Deadliest Catch” will leverage MSN Video’s Entertainment and Sports channels, which own nearly 40% of MSN’s video audience. Discovery will run another custom execution called a Transitional Skin on the MSNBC video player.
MSN Mobile. On April 14, Discovery will execute an MSN Mobile home page takeover in conjunction with the MSN home page takeover. In addition, Microsoft subsidiary ScreenTonic created a mobile Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) site that utilizes the Microsoft Advertising mobile platform. Viewers will be able to interact with the WAP site and enter their cell phone numbers to receive tune-in reminders for the show via text message.
Xbox LIVE. The “Deadliest Catch” campaign will be running a number of click-to-video executions across the Xbox LIVE platform with a call-to-action Deadliest Catch Text to Win Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes provides viewers with a specific mobile SMS code to text for a chance to win Microsoft Points that can be used to buy games, movies, and television shows through the on-demand service.
Massive. Using the Massive in-game advertising platform, Discovery is placing targeted ads throughout the experience to capture users at peak gaming time, with a focus on games played by audiences who embrace an edgy, fast-paced lifestyle: Ubisoft’s “Shaun White Snowboarding” and “Rainbow Six Vegas 2,” and Electronic Arts’ “Skate 2,” Madden 09, “Mercenaries 2,” “Need for Speed Undercover” and “NHL 09.” These ad units will also include the SMS codes for the Deadliest Catch Text to Win Sweepstakes.
Windows Live Hotmail. Windows Live Hotmail will feature demographically targeted ads to coincide with the Fox Sports and MSNBC ad placements.
Live Search. To round out its ad buy, Discovery is taking advantage of Microsoft Advertising’s adCenter platform and purchasing search keywords to help drive awareness to the newest season of “Deadliest Catch.”
Microsoft will also participate in the first-ever CatchCon event – a “Deadliest Catch” one-day fan festival being held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle, on April 25. The event will include an Xbox lounge featuring Greenwave’s “Deadliest Catch Alaskan Storm” video game for Xbox 360.