May 24th, 2012
When Marketing Links Web and TV Dramas
By ANDREW ADAM NEWMAN
The New York Times
IN the season finale on May 31 of “Touch,” the Kiefer Sutherland drama on Fox, AT&T takes an unusual approach to paid product placement: showing characters using a mobile phone app that does not, in fact, exist.
The app, Air Graffiti, is being developed by AT&T but is still a twinkle in the eye of developers, who say it is a long way from being available to consumers. The app will enable users to leave location-based messages for one another in a street-view map. In the episode, Mr. Sutherland points his smartphone at a building and sees a message — a series of numbers — that was written by his son.
Highlighting what is only on the drawing board, which the company also does in some television commercials, helps promote AT&T as an innovation-driven company — and the message is aimed not just at consumers.