Conan O'Brien is returning to the airwaves via a big ostentatious orange blimp and us Earthlings can follow its aerial whereabouts throughout the month of October via social media. Using the creative promotion team at Foursquare, the talk-show host has struck a deal with the location-based social network and AT&T to promote his new show on TBS, debuting November 8 at 11PM ET/ 10 Central - in a most unique way.
And what would a Foursquare promotion be without an opportunity to earn a badge. Yes, Team Coco fans you can get your very own when you "check in" to one of the blimp's venues which is updating regularly on the Website and Conan's Twitter and Facebook accounts. You know the drill - once you reach the designated spot - check-in to the Conan venue and Voilà !
Tumbler even posts aerial photos from the blimp. Check this shot of of a recent MLB playoffs game in Philadelphia - snapped from the blimp's maiden voyage! When airborne, the blimp's on-board Web cam takes photos every minute and transmits them online.
In this YouTube video, the head of Team Coco pokes fun at the pilot who's commandeering the "Conan" blimp - after all speedboats are much cooler!
Foursquare have become an invaluable tool for amplifying social media messages and a campaign like this was needed for O'Brien to break through the TV commercial clutter. Since TBS is not a major network, it would take a lot of advertising dollars to make the public aware how to find the right channel, once his show premieres. With Foursquare's millions of followers already acclimated to the "check-in" functionality of the geolocation network, this type of brand awareness has a more far-reaching effect in attracting potential TV viewers.
The month-long east coast promotion was orchestrated by Jonathan Crowley, brother to co-founder Dennis Crowley and the mastermind behind the media partnerships Foursquare has forged with Bravo, HBO, History Channel MTV and VH1 - see previous post "While Facebook Conquers The Web, Foursquare Targets TV."
Conan, not a stranger to social media, used Twitter and YouTube to sell seats to his 30-city concert tour, shortly after he was let go from the Tonight Show. Within a half-hour after Team Coco's message was transmitted throughout the Twittersphere, O'Brien's tour dates were sold out, requiring the comedian to add a few more appearance dates - see previous post, "Conan O'Brien & Team Coco "Tweet For Seats.'"
So check out those friendly skies and that ostentatious orange blimp hovering over the horizon and let us know if you spot Conan circumnavigating. Like a comet sighting, I'm sure people will be buzzing about when and if they were lucky enough to catch a glimpse. It will be in the New York City environs starting Saturday (Oct. 9), then off to Atlanta, Tampa and Boston. Also take a peek at the 10 Blimp YouTube video promos that were just released. They're really hilarious.