Urtak Use Case # 2 - ZA NEWS marries fresh video content with Urtak polling widget
This is the story of Both Worlds, the South African production company led by Thierry Cassuto, the launch of ZA NEWS daily video programming in October 2009, and the use of Urtak for audience engagement, content development, business insights, publicity, …
In 2008, SABC declined to air on national tv the pilot show it had commissioned - ZNEWS, a satirical comedy program with larger than life latex puppets of major political and social leaders. No official response was given; however, it was probably too hot to handle. Mr. Cassuto and the world famous cartoonist Zapiro had been developing the characters and the program for more than 11 years. The program was inspired by the successful UK program Spitting Image and French prime time cable tv smash hit, Les Guignols.
Undaunted, Mr. Cassuto took to digital media to launch ZA NEWS with bold lead sponsors, kulula airlines and the Mail & Guardian Online. While building out the space, creating new characters, and assembling the talent to produce daily video puppet shows, Mr. Cassuto started to build the audience for ZA NEWS with facebook, twitter, and Urtak.
Initially, the ZA NEWS facebook page referred the 5000 fans to go to the ZA NEWS POLL on urtak.com. The eager, highly loyal fan base added questions and more than 6000 opinions in no time, providing feedback on new characters in development, controversial topics, story lines, and more. Some of the insights from Urtak were linked to twitter posts, attracting more participation.
Today, ZA NEWS is preparing to launch season 3 in September 2010 with new characters and sponsors - Apple and WebAfrica join lead sponsor kulula. ZA NEWS continues to innovate. In addition to a new site and media campaign in development with Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, Mr. Cassuto continues to build audience relationships online with YouTube (775,274 upload views), Facebook (26,814 fans), twitter (1,251 followers), Urtak (468,735 opinions, 1026 questions), and, of course with fresh servings of hilarious video content, like this:
This Urtak poll started via a link on facebook and then was embedded as a widget on the home page of the ZA NEWS online channel: zanews.co.za It helped Both Worlds understand demographics, psychographics, biographics, and learn what questions this audience really cared about. Right away, there was serious learning from this audience for comedy programming.
The sponsors like what they learned.
The Urtak poll was incorporated as fresh content into the programming of Season 1. Each Saturday, to lead and close the show reviewing the week’s highlights, a question from the Urtak poll was featured, like this Urtak Question of the Week #8.
The ZA NEWS marketing team cherry picked some of the best questions from Season 1 Urtak and seeded a new Urtak poll to embed on zanews.co.za for Season 2.
They kept track of what the audience cared about, asked development and marketing research questions, and closely followed the audience’s take on the World Cup.
Urtak’s unique capability to x-tab any 2 questions in the poll exposed surprising new ironies - funny and profound. For example, ANC supporters were 3 times more optimistic, as they were more likely to believe their home team would advance in the World Cup.
Again, the sponsors were very happy, growing with a loyal audience.
Season 3 and beyond
Season 3 will see new puppets (sorry, I can not reveal anything at this time), broader distribution of ZA NEWS branded content through the new O&M developed site, YouTube, Facebook, mobile, and sponsored events. And, Urtak will be there to continue to help engage the community, understand a lot more than bi-polar comments, and pursue real-time insights for new marketing opportunities (for more information, check with the founders at Urtak.com).
Urtak Use Case #1 - World's best selling author James Patterson taps into his fans in new ways.
This briefly presents the story behind the first major user, and currently the largest user of Urtak — The Hachette Book Group for James Patterson Entertainment.
In October 2008, a great Brand Manager posing as the book character “Fang” posted a blog for 5,000 readers of James Paterson’s books who were her followers at the time.
That day, nearly the entire community went to the Max-Dan-Wiz poll on Urtak.com and registered over 100,000 responses and loads of new questions.
Fang ignited community interest in sharing opinions, posing questions, and learning about James Patterson’s books and “other stuff” his community really cares about. The innovative Brand Manager was posting questions, getting answers, and improving her facebook media buys with Urtak’s help.
In early 2009, that blog morphed into a NING social network for James Patterson youth readers. This same collaborative poll was embedded on the site’s community page. Today, the Max-Dan-Wiz community has 48,641 registered members; and, this one poll has generated over 2,039,702 opinions and 2,427 questions so far.
That’s a ton of information. The author, publisher, marketing team, and readers have learned about demographics, psychographics, biographics, habits, dreams, … asking whatever questions they want to ask. The community sorts it out, revealing in real-time what questions are most cared about, least cared about, most divisive, most agreed upon.
Here’s a question all participants have cared to answer so far:
As a publisher, wouldn’t you like to know if your readers will purchase the next book online? Most of these readers say ‘no’ to this question. They prefer to buy their books in a store.
What does the community think about the character ‘Iggy’? Instead of reading bi-polar blog post comments or using traditional polls, anyone can search ‘Iggy’ in the learn section of the Max-Dan-Wiz Urtak poll for existing questions or add his/her own. With so many questions organized in lists by degree of caring and agreement, Urtak offers a whole new collaborative perspective around subjects. Pointilism in polling. So, participants are less likely to be thrown off by historical bias or squeeky wheels.
And, with Urtak’s unique x-tab feature, we can see if age has any impact on where readers shop. No, not really. These readers are still into their physical books. 90% are under the age of 18.
These Urtak polls have been embedded in blog posts and community pages on different sites. Together with the first poll, all 5 have generated over 2,673,791 opinions in response to over 3,166 among James Patterson and his fans.
3. Building the world’s first and largest collaborative polling platform
Can any other type of poll generate this level of engagement, keep track of the questions people care about, and help everyone find out what people think?