Opinion: Orange makes event-based content Wicked!

October 4, 2007 at 12:57 pm 1 comment

inbabble-wicked.JPGWe’ve talked a lot this week about content geared towards very specific target groups, and how we think they really utilize the personal nature of the mobile phone. Building mobile content around specific events or shows is another way of creating a lot of interest, and providing users with content and interactivity that they can’t get anywhere else. UK mobile operator Orange has announced it has become the ‘official communications partner’ (yes, we hate that kind of meaningless corporate schtick too) of the hit London musical ‘Wicked‘ – a story involving the witches from the Wizard of Oz. Not earth-shattering in itself, except for the fact that Orange has built some interesting and very interactive content around it.

In fact, Orange has been making a lot of moves content-wise recently, like signing up top UK sports personalities including Frank Lampard and Martin Johnson to blog and share video diaries with Orange subscribers. However, the sponsorship around ‘Wicked’ takes things in a slightly different and more involving direction. For example, Orange subscribers will gain exclusive access to video diaries from cast members. But the real hook is ‘Wannabe Wicked‘, a competition to find an Orange subscriber talented enough to justify a walk-on part in the show itself.

The idea is that users send in videos of themselves singing songs from the show, and these then get voted on by fellow subscribers via the Orange World portal. Once the semi-final stage is reached, the contestants still standing have to perform live in front of the show’s producers in order to convince them they have what it takes to strut their stuff live on stage alongside the professionals.

In truth, we agree with others that the appeal of this particular promotion is likely to be fairly limited outside of London, where the show is based. You also have to be a big fan of musicals in general, the Wizard of Oz movie or the show itself, and have a burning desire to perform in front of a real live audience who are paying good money to see experienced performers rather than random wannabes. However, from a mobile perspective we don’t think that’s really the point.

Events, shows, movies and other mainstream content of all types attract large audiences and all operate in an extremely competitive environment, each trying to guarantee the biggest share of bums on seats, eyeballs, viewers, etc, etc. The mobile channel offers producers of this kind of content a powerful way to differentiate by making make the audience experience richer and more engaging. Meanwhile, the operator creates a connection between its brand and a cultural entity that fans take personally. And that increases the likelihood that they’ll come back for more of both the show and the operators services in the future.

Hamish M.
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Entry filed under: mobile applications, mobile content, opinion, orange mobile, wicked.

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