Harnessing the Power of Online Social Communities for Branding and Market Development

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG164
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2000-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Nike, Inc., Procter & Gamble Company, ABC Entertainment
Industry : Footwear/ FMCG/ Media and Entertainment
Countries : Europe, USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Caselet 3: ABC Converts its 'Lost' Viewers into 'Sci-Fi Nerds'

In September 2004, ABC Entertainment (ABC) premiered its television drama series (TV series), Lost, which went on to become a huge success due to its gripping storyline and an integrated marketing campaign (IMC). The story of Lost revolved around a plane crash, after which the survivors find themselves stranded on a remote Pacific island. The island is apparently populated by supernatural forces.

As of April 2006, Lost was the fastest-selling TV series in Buena Vista International Television's history. It had been licensed in over 210 territories worldwide. According to ABC, Lost "has consistently been No. 1 in its timeslot".

The series was a Top 3 US series on free TV channels in every international territory it has aired. Lost also received the 'best drama series' award at the 2005 Emmy awards and the 2006 Golden Globe awards. Some analysts felt that Lost's success had a lot to do with its IMC that spawned many online communities dedicated to the show. The buzz generated by these communities brought in fresh viewers to the show.

Before the launch of the series, in mid-2004, ABC debuted Lost before 3,000 people, comprising mostly "young techies", at the popular annual comics convention Comic-Con in San Diego, USA. ABC also developed "official unofficial" websites like Lost-tv.com, well before the show was launched on TV. In these websites people could get information about the storyline and the characters. This was expected to kick-start a buzz about the show before it was aired. In addition to this, in a publicity stunt for Lost, ABC scattered 10,000 plastic bottles on beaches with a flier inside reading, "I'm 'Lost.' Find me on ABC." The pilot episode for Lost had reportedly cost around US$10 million, the highest in US television history...


Exhibit I: Screenshot of www.joga.com
Exhibit II: Comparison of Daily Reach of Joga.com vs. Adidas.com
Exhibit III: Screenshot of Tremor.com
Exhibit IV: Screenshot of Vocalpoint.com
Exhibit V: Screenshot of Thelostexperience.com


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