Last night, millions of viewers tuned into the 66th Emmy Awards show, but how many of them knew that the show also doubled as the launch of Facebook’s new “Mentions Box?” This activation is an offline extension of the Mentions app that allows celebrities and other influencers to comment on any posts mentioning them and communicate directly with their fans.
Leveraging the show’s pop culture savvy audience, Facebook and partner, Access Hollywood gave fans exclusive and unedited content from stars in some of this year’s biggest shows, including Silicon Valley and Orange is the New Black.
The “Mentions Box” is essentially a tablet that is shaken similar to a Magic 8-Ball, asking the celebrity a question submitted by a fan. Celebrities will then record a response on the tablet, like they would take a selfie. Access Hollywood then uploaded the short videos to its Facebook page.
Facebook did a great job inserting themselves into the Emmy’s buzz with this new feature, with the execution of the launch. The branded “Mentions Box” tablets were often spotted on red carpet coverage during the NBC pre-show, while fans were simultaneously offered exclusive content. All coverage drove users back to the Access Hollywood Facebook page to experience fresh, new content. While the Mentions app is only available to exclusive verified parties, this is Facebook’s attempt to join back in the online pop culture conversation often dominated by other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Despite Facebook’s sound strategy, launch partner Access Hollywood’s lack of real-time activation represents a missed opportunity. On August 21, Access Hollywood announced via Facebook that fans could submit their questions for celebrities leading up to the Emmys. However, the celebrity responses were not shared on Facebook until the morning after the awards show – a lifetime in social media years, and well after online Emmys buzz had subsided.
The key to this activation was making fans feel like they were attending the event and receiving inside scoop from celebrities. While the videos are still timely this morning, Facebook and Access Hollywood would have made a larger impact if uploaded in real-time. Regardless, I applaud Access Hollywood for jumping on the bandwagon of user-generated content, especially during the pre-fall television season when celebrity buzz is at an all-time high. The content allowed them to keep themselves relevant even after the show ended.
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