Tens of thousands of fans of the NBC show “30 Rock” (or their friends or colleagues) have had the unusual experience over the last week of picking up their phones to hear the voice of Alec Baldwin addressing them by name and wishing them a happy holiday.
While the messages – reminiscent of get-out-the-vote efforts known as push polls – are obviously recorded, Mr. Baldwin can also be heard relating details about the recipient, like the person’s job (including the fields of public relations or pharmaceuticals) and hobbies (cooking, doing crossword puzzles), as well as complimenting his or her physique. (One choice: “I am not above telling you, you have a nice behind.”)
The promotion, using the fledgling technology of a company called Varitalk, is being mounted by the NBC Universal Television Studio, which produces “30 Rock.” In a telephone interview yesterday, Shelley McCrory, senior vice president for comedy development at the studio, said that she and her colleagues had been seeking a way to give the freshman comedy an edge over its tough competition at 9:30 on Thursday nights, including the veteran dramas “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on CBS.
Marketing Sherpa is running a case study today on a similar campaign, powered by eStara’s click to call, that combines video and voice.