March 24th, 2011

Birthday Greetings From an ‘Idol’ Contestant to Build the Brand

The New York Times

FOR “American Idol,” having more than five million followers on Facebook is encouraging, but there is something besides devotion the show wants from Facebook users: cash.

Beginning Friday, Facebook users will be encouraged to spend $1 to send each other video messages recorded by the 10 finalists on the show. The videos, through a partnership with an application called Cameo Stars, will feature the contestants sending birthday wishes or a poke, a common Facebook greeting.

Cameo Stars films subjects in front of a green screen and does not embed videos in a player, meaning contestants appear to be speaking directly from profile pages of Facebook users.

“For this particular product, there is a feeling that it’s customized for you because it’s being delivered to you on your own page and because a character is walking toward you and talking toward the camera,” said Olivier Delfosse, vice president for interactive at FremantleMedia Enterprises, which co-produces American Idol in the United States with 19 Productions.

Mr. Delfosse said that when evaluating licensing deals for FremantleMedia, which also produces or co-produces shows including “The X Factor,” Family Feud” and “The Price is Right,” he applied two criteria.

“The first is generally to increase the equity of the brand and build up the brand and the other is to develop compelling products that we can sell and sell,” said Mr. Delfosse. The new Facebook video project “checks both of those boxes,” he said.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/business/media/24adco.html?_r=1&ref=business

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