Wednesday

Did Amex Get Lost? Or Get Lost?

Amex's Lost Opportunity
By Cory Treffiletti

This television season has seen quite a bit more references to the Internet than ever before, as the networks are finally starting to understand the concept of supporting their core programming with interactive supplements. But I'm still surprised at the lag in thinking when these models are applied.

Let's take "Lost," for example. Last week was the season premiere and I paid close attention, with a very keen eye, intent on identifying every little detail that might help me understand the episode and be able to develop new theories as to what was actually going on. I was certainly not disappointed with the show, until of course the very end when there was a mention of visiting www.ABC.com/Lost, which was being sponsored by American Express. The ad stated that if I went over to the site, and if I was an American Express cardholder, that I would be able to unlock footage, decipher inside meanings, and supplement my "Lost" viewing experience.

As any avid fan would have done, I went to the site immediately after the episode instead of visiting the Lost Forums on other sites, usually my first stops after the show. The experience I had with the ABC.com site was poor at best. When I linked through to the site, I discovered a message that stated I should "come back tomorrow to unlock valuable content," or something like that--I'm paraphrasing. Doesn't anyone know the Internet is an immediacy medium? If you tell me I have to wait, chances are you've lost me!

As a marketer, I had high aspirations for the Amex sponsorship. I was quite impressed by the idea of supplementing the viewing experience and how Amex was sponsoring this unique content. I knew from the last two seasons that half the fun of "Lost" is venturing to the Web to see what everyone else saw and what I may have missed or didn't pick up on in my first viewing. However, I was completely let down by the experience, more than a little bummed that such a great idea on paper was executed with such flaws.

I did venture back to the site the next day and was equally unimpressed with what I discovered. Though I thought the login feature for cardholders was great, the content I found was not. The site rehashed the obvious elements from the show, so I spent about four minutes there, total. Conversely I visited the Lost Forums on another site and proceeded to waste slightly under an hour reading through the theories, fantasies and postulations of the audience, amazed at how much time some of these people seemingly have to have discovered what they did.

The Forums are about immediacy and in-depth analysis. The sponsorship for Amex could be about the same thing if the company understood the most basic tenet of the Web: a click or a visit signals a request for immediate information. By asking me to visit and to "come back later," you are risking my attention and wasting my valuable time.

I still have high hopes for the Amex sponsorship, as I am guessing it lasts the remainder of the season. I hope that Amex unlocks this content immediately and learns the lessons from this wasted effort.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:40 PM  

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