Big Online Push for Discovery’s ‘Greatest American’

Discovery Networks launched an extensive online campaign to support “The Greatest American,” a four-part show aiming to name the all-around best U.S. citizen from the past 230 years or so. created the interactive effort, which includes a big search campaign and paid media placements on blogs and other sites. Additionally, the show has a dedicated Weblog of its own, hosted by America Online. The campaign began in early May and will continue until the show’s final airing on June 26.

“We strategically bought media in blogs and message boards to ignite discussion early on,” said Christina Miller, account executive on the agency’s work for Discovery Networks. “As we got closer to actual show time, we changed the messaging to get people to go to the AOL site to find out who the nominees are.”

The media plan includes placements on Gawker, Friendster, The New York Times’ online reader forum, EzBoard and bought hundreds of Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing keywords, including the names of all nominees and several variations on “Greatest.” A mobile component on AvantGo enabled wireless voting and show reminders integrated with its calendar functions.

“The Greatest American,” hosted by Matt Lauer, lets viewers select nominees and winners. Voting takes place by phone, SMS or online after every program every Sunday in June. On top of legendary American figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and Walt Disney, the contest has some dubious nominees, among them Martha Stewart and Dr. Phil.

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