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The CW’s The Flash Sparks a 4.5 Million Viewer Fire with Mobile Video

Posted Oct 16, 2014

When the CW wanted to promote the launch of their new action series The Flash, they knew that mobile video was the way to go … so they enlisted the help of OMD and AdColony.

Little did they know that we’d whip up a campaign so fierce they’d have one of the highest-rated, most-watched premieres in five years.

The mission  

The CW wanted to introduce The Flash to a core audience: Males aged 18-34 that over-indexed for tablet and mobile usage. Oh, and of course, they wanted to reach comic book fans and game enthusiasts – likely core fans of The Flash as a character.

But the goal wasn’t just to tell them about the premiere – the campaign needed to compel the target audience to tune in and demonstrate clear signs engagement.

The multi-faceted approach

After establishing the target audience, and defining when and how to reach them, the real strategizing began. The CW clearly needed to leverage AdColony’s in-app Instant-Play™ HD video to offer viewers a sneak peak with the trailer – but what about additional engagement?

To follow the video, we developed a custom End Card that included a mini-game called “Catch The Flash.” The game enticed both new and seasoned fans to try to catch the show’s main character as he jetted through a cityscape. Players interacted with the simple, but graphically-stunning game by tapping the screen as fast as they could.

“Catch The Flash” was also accompanied by two specific call-to-actions: One that let users watch the full-length trailer for the show, and the other to set a mobile calendar reminder for the date of the premiere.

4.5 million viewers got the message

The combination of precision targeting and a creative, mobile-first execution definitely generated the right kind of attention.

First, was the viewership. According to TVLine, The Flash was the CW’s best debut in five years – attracting 4.5 million total viewers – it’s most-watched The Vampire Diaries debuted in 2009.

Second, were the campaign stats. The overall engagement rate was nearly 40 percent. That means nearly two out of every five users who saw the ad played the mini-game, and often chose to engage further by watching the full-length trailer or setting up a calendar invite.

Not too shabby, indeed – and yet another testament to the power of sight, sound and motion when it comes to mobile advertising. You can check out a video clip of the “Catch The Flash” mini-game execution here.

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