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Universal’s “Repo Men” mobile video ads drive movie ticket sales

March 16, 2010

Universal tapped iVdopia for the mobile video ad campaign

Universal tapped iVdopia for the mobile video ad campaign

Universal Pictures is running click-to-buy mobile video ads to drive ticket sales of its “Repo Men” movie.

Ignited, Universal’s agency of record, tapped iVdopia Talk2Me social ads to engage iPhone moviegoers through social media, online trailers and mobile technologies. The mobile video ad campaign is achieving click-through rates that significantly outperform online in-stream video ads, in fact, by an average of 400 percent, according to iVdopia.

“The results of Universal’s mobile video ad campaign are so far very promising, already better than online media,” said Srikanth Kakani, cofounder of iVdopia, San Jose, CA. “Talk2Me is more complicated than just sharing the ads—consumers can share certain aspects of the advertisement, in this case, sharing the trailer.

“People can actually watch and share trailers, view photos and video clips, download wallpapers, and they can send content to Facebook or Twitter to spread it virally,” he said. “The second part of the campaign is about buying the tickets.

“Buying movie tickets is the default action of the mobile video ad unit.”

Repo Men is a science fiction action thriller directed by Miguel Sapochnik and starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.

Vdopia Inc.’s iVdopia is a mobile advertising platform and network specializing in rich media and video advertising on smartphones, including pre-application video and social networking options

In addition to Universal, its clients include brands such as Coca-Cola, Warner Brothers and Miller Lite.

IVdopia claims that Talk2Me ads are the first to allow mobile advertisers to tailor interactive actions in video and banner ads that include the customized social features to best fit their branding needs.

Universal mobile ads
Ignited’s goal in using iVdopia’s Talk2Me mobile video ad units was to create an integrated opportunity for users to connect and engage with trailers, clips and photos for Repo Men, thus driving ticket sales.

The agency said that the Talk2Me unit was a great fit for the Repo Men audience and helped drive a high rate of sharing and engagement.

Launched on March 1, the campaign is engaging Repo Men’s target audience on iPhone applications such as Arcade Bowling Lite, Arcade Hoops Basketball Lite, Showtimes and College Basketball Lite.

These applications’ users dovetail with the target demographic for Repo Men—young adults, skewing male, with an interest in sports and science fiction.

Consumers can book tickets via their handset, click-to-call or pull up a map of nearby theaters

Consumers can book tickets via their handset, click-to-call or pull up a map of nearby theaters

Universal decided to use iVdopia’s pre-app video ad unit. The Repo Men video ad plays while the application is loading. Users can interact with it by tapping their iPhone’s screen.

The mobile video ads featuring the TV spot for Universal’s Repo Men exceeded expectations in the campaign’s first week by averaging a CTR of more than 400 percent above online in-stream video advertising.

Of the users who clicked the ad for the film, more than 28 percent used iVdopia’s new Talk2Me social media ad features to engage further with the clip.

The engagements included sharing via Facebook and Twitter, buying movie tickets and searching for nearby theaters, all right from the mobile consumer interface.

This campaign is an example of the potential of social media ads on smartphones, according to iVdopia.

Talk2Me’s interface is customizable for the advertiser’s needs and gives consumers several one-tap choices, letting them share, respond and interact with the advertisement and the brand.

These ads also help close the loop to achieve the movie studio’s ultimate goal—getting consumers to buy tickets to the movie.

One interesting find was that application users grew more comfortable with the share feature as the campaign went on.

At launch, the campaign started with a 1 percent share rate and rose to 9 percent, which iVdopia expect to continue to rise throughout this week leading up to the film’s debut.

“This is the first time that a movie campaign is being run this way,” Mr. Kakani said. “Before, all ads had been specific to showcasing trailers for one user, but this is the first time a user and his or her friends are also being included.

“Each share will result in 20-30 users on average engaging with the trailer on Facebook or Twitter,” he said. “The recommendation is from the user, so it makes it more authentic.

“This used to happen via word of mouth, but now it’s automatic, which is a big step forward in advertising.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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