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BBC America garners 40 percent opt-in for mobile effort

A BBC America Bluetooth promotion in New York and Los Angeles for its new Robin Hood television series generated more than 6,000 downloads.

The effort resulted in an average 40 percent opt-in rate, meaning that four out of 10 mobile consumers actually downloaded the 90-second trailer once the link was sent to them. The series and the Bluetooth call to action were publicized on windows of two vacant retail stores in high-traffic areas.

"The purpose of the campaign was to drive tune-in to Robin Hood and also generate awareness of BBC America," said Nicole Wetzold, director of marketing at BBC America, New York.

"Robin Hood is a programming priority for us," she said. "It's an extremely accessible story and familiar story. It has that mass appeal that we can put marketing money behind it to reach a wide audience."

The windows showed the actors in dramatic poses with a call to action that was straightforward: "Get exclusive Robin Hood content here! Set your Bluetooth device to discoverable or visit"

Besides the opt-in rate, the Robin Hood effort boasted a low rejection rate of 5.8 percent -- mobile users who had Bluetooth on and got the message who actively said they didn't want to download the trailer. Fifty-four percent of those who got the message ignored it.

The Bluetooth effort ran for four weeks starting April 14.

Launched April 26, the Robin Hood series is based on the famed mythical English robber hero of the same name. Jonas Armstrong plays Robin Hood leading his band of outlaws, Lucy Griffiths as Marian and Keith Allen as the despised Sheriff of Nottingham.

Season two of Robin Hood sees its fair share of betrayal, treason and heroism in King Richard's England.

The series is part of the network's news, drama, comedy and documentary programming that reaches more than 60 million homes across the United States. The target demographic is adults ages 25-54.

Not window dressing
The Bluetooth effort was handled by Inwindow Outdoor LLC, a New York-based outdoor advertising firm that uses windows on vacant stores to promote advertiser messages.

"I think this is just another way to reach consumers," said Steve Birnhak, CEO of Inwindow Outdoor. "Anything you can do to grab someone's attention or get them to spend time on your brand is valuable."

Jeff Cohen, Inwindow Outdoor's director of business development, agreed.

"You get to take the brand away and the prospect that this person might pass this on," Mr. Cohen said about the mobile trailer.

PHD, New York, handles the BBC America media account, using sibling agency OMG to place outdoor for Robin Hood. BBC America's creative services department created the trailer that asks viewers to watch the series.

Robin Hood was BBC America's first Bluetooth experiment. It ran on New York's 1033 Avenue of the Americas address on 38th Street in New York and on 1259 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Consider the results of the Bluetooth push for each city. In New York, 40.4 percent, or 2,958 people, accepted the message and 5.5 percent, or 401 people, rejected it. Inwindow Outdoor found that 54.1 percent, or 3,957 people, ignored the message.

Los Angeles tracked to New York in that 39.1 percent, or 3,202 people, accepted the message, and 6.1 percent, or 497 people, rejected it. It was found that 54.8 percent, or 4,448 people, ignored the message.

Across the two cities, 39.7 percent, or 6,160 people, accepted the Robin Hood download and 5.8 percent, or 898 people, rejected it. It turns out that 54.5 percent, or 8,445 people, ignored the message.

"It was definitely a test for us and we didn't know what to expect," Ms. Wetzold said. "So finding out that it was one of the most successful Bluetooth campaigns to date was a great surprise to us."

Bluetooth was but one component of the media buy for Robin Hood.

The network also took ads on TV in the top 10 metro areas nationwide. Magazine buys were Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, InTouch, OK and Us Weekly along with the Philadelphia Inquirer and Metro Philadelphia newspapers.

Robin Hood was also supported with a video board in New York's busy Times Square and a Spectacular board diagonal from New York's Penn Station, plus ads on bus sides. Bus shelters and billboards were used in Los Angeles. Philadelphia, which is a big market for BBC America, also had wild postings, all legal.

Online, Robin Hood ads ran in Yahoo's TV section, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook. Keywords were also bought on Yahoo and Google as part of the search marketing effort.

Short in tooth?
The BBC America Bluetooth-retail effort is one of many that Inwindow Outdoor has run. The company ran a recent push for The CW network's "Gossip Girl" series that also generated consumer interest. It has run a similar effort for Turner Classic.

Another Bluetooth campaign for the Canadian Tourism Commission is currently live in three New York locations.

Inwindow Outdoor wraps windows on high-traffic retail storefronts with vinyl. It also ensures Bluetooth reception in the area.

"You're getting a billboard, you're getting an ad at street level and a presence at retail," Mr. Cohen said. "When you add the Bluetooth, it deepens people's engagement with the brand and allows people to literally take the ad with them."

Inwindow Outdoor tracks the number of people who accepted the ad, downloaded the trailer, rejected the message or ignored it. The firm charges the media buying agency and the brand for its service.

Interestingly, BBC America doesn't plan to run another Bluetooth effort soon.

"Right now the user is catching up to the technology, so while the campaign was highly successful, the cost per impression is a bit too high for us at this time," BBC America's Ms. Wetzold said.

"I think down the road as people become more familiar with the process of downloading from their Bluetooth device we'd be highly likely to consider it again," she said.