Two in a froth for webisodes

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In the first Web series being produced by Kraft, its Tassimo hot beverage system brand has partnered with Ogilvy's branded entertainment group to create a series of webisodes titled "Who Hired Bob?"

The comedy series follows the misadventures of Bob, a quirky character in an office setting who obsesses over little things that have nothing to do with work. Bob loves his Tassimo machine to the point of being fanatic about it.

The initial two webisodes, which are available at WhoHiredBob.com, have three acts each, with viewers able to choose between one of two options at the end of Acts 1 and 2 as to what happens next to Bob. Each act runs about two minutes. Viewers also can submit stories of "Bob-like" characters in their own workplaces. The winning viewer submission will be filmed as the next "Bobisode."

The webisodes were produced by Ogilvy in partnership with writer-producer Jim Biederman, whose credits include "The Kids in the Hall" and "The Whitest Kids U Know."

The online series is a result of a marketing innovation fund that Kraft instituted to experiment with different forms of marketing. "This new effort is a great way for us to tap into the growing consumer interest in entertaining online content while testing its effectiveness as a direct-marketing tool," said Lori Acker, director of marketing at Tassimo.

"Creating original, entertaining content gives Tassimo both cultural currency and permission for further conversations with consumers," said Joseph Frydl, director of Ogilvy's branded content and entertainment group. "Purely interruptive marketing simply cannot accomplish that."

He said each episode has a "Tassimo moment," a sort of wink to the camera acknowledging to the audience that the webisodes are a marketing tool. "We're not going to pretend this isn't marketing, but we're going to have some fun with it along the way."

To market the series, Tassimo and Ogilvy created a 30-second trailer and bought media on Google's AdSense network. Frydl said he expects 70 million impressions during the course of a month on financial sites, travel sites, food sites and special interest sites, among others. He also expects word-of-mouth, YouTube and other video-based sites to help get the word out.
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