CBS Experiments With Its "Ex"

Promotional campaign includes Facebook widgets, custom Zagat guides, partnership with 1-800 Flowers.

CBS will be promoting sitcom The Ex List through several unconventional and as-of-yet unproven means. The promotional campaign will include Facebook integration, a special holiday, an unexplained horoscopes widget, and custom Zagat Guides.

The Ex List focuses on Bella Bloom, a young, single woman who is told by a physic that she has already met, and possibly dated, her future husband.

 The campaign aims to capitalize on the dating theme to attract young women.

 CBS will be promoting the show with posters and billboards asking “Have you dated this woman?” (referring to Bella) and asking people to visit or call a special toll-free number.

 The CBS Marketing Group branches out beyond traditional advertising techniques with the other elements of the campaign. With the Facebook application and horoscopes widget, the network with a reputation for having the viewers with the oldest median age may also be branching out beyond their area of expertise in an attempt to lower that age.

 The Facebook application allows users to create their own virtual “Mr. Right.” The user can then allow Mr. Right to send them emails and text messages to encourage them to watch the show.

 The Mr. Right application has been met with some initial success, with over 33,000 monthly active users as of writing. There is little evidence, however, to suggest that Mr. Right’s success will translate to additional viewers of the show, as the show’s Facebook page currently as has just over 1,400 fans, or about 4.2% of Mr. Right’s active users.

 "By bundling show promos and clips with this fun and relatable application, we've been able to engage a great demographic and expand the show's reach,” Anne O'Grady, Executive Vice President, CBS Marketing, said in a statement.

 Bundled promos and clips includes banner ads and clips that play while you create your Mr. Right. Once the user has created their Mr. Right, the application relies on them entering their email address and cell phone number is order for Mr. Right to send them messages which will presumably be about the show.

 CBS has created two customized Ex List branded Zagat Guides to “Dating & Ditching” for the New York and Los Angeles regions. The Zagat Guides were being handed out by street teams in those two markets today, and are also being distributed through New York and Los Angeles area bars and restaurants.

 Even if the Zagat Guides boost awareness in those two markets, New York and Los Angeles account for a combined 11.6% of total television households in the U.S., and CBS Marketing hasn’t explained how the Zagat Guides will boost awareness for the other 88.4% of television households.

 The press release from CBS Marketing also touts an Ex List branded “romance horoscopes widget” without providing further information.

 In computing terms, a widget is a small program or user-interface component that the user interacts with to do one specific thing. Widgets can be developed for social networking sites, websites, or operating systems, but must be developed separately for each platform.

 The network says the widget will be an iGoogle widget, allowing users to place it on their Google homepages.

 The final element of the campaign is “Ex Day” a holiday created by CBS and 1-800-Flowers for people to reconnect with an ex. 1-800-Flowers is offering a special Ex Day bouquet.

 Yanique Woodall, Director of Public Relations for 1-800-Flowers explained that they are promoting Ex Day and the Ex Day bouquet with a radio campaign and posters sent to their network of 10,000 florists nationwide, as well as through online promotions.