Kraft, Ogilvy pact for webisodes


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 the 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 for viewing at, have three acts each, with viewers able to choose between one of two options at the end of Acts I and Acts II as to what happens next to Bob. Each act runs about two minutes for a total of six minutes per webisode. Viewers can also 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." He comes from the Upright Citizens Brigade, the New York-based comedy improv group.

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 for 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, and that's really the spirit of how we handled the integration."

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, You Tube and other video-based sites to help get the word out.