Discovery Channel Taps Microsoft for ‘Deadliest Catch’ Cross-Network Ad Buy

Microsoft Advertising is citing the size of its publisher portfolio and its cross-network media properties as the reasons the Discovery Channel chose the Microsoft Media Network for a “three-screen” campaign advertising the “Deadliest Catch” TV series this week.

The main part of the campaign will run Wednesday, April 14 (the day the show’s fifth season debuts) across MSN, MSN Mobile, Windows Live Hotmail, Microsoft Live Search and Xbox LIVE. According to Microsoft Advertising, Discovery is spending Deadliest Catch’s whole online ad budget on the effort.

Microsoft said the campaign will include a first: a “home page conjunction takeover across MSN and MSN Mobile,” as well as various Microsoft-developed video, mobile, and game placements through Massive, Microsoft’s in-game ad subsidiary.

Microsoft Advertising VP of U.S. Sales Keith Lorizio said, “The doors to our one-stop shop are open” and said the deal shows how Microsoft is “making it easier for customers to buy and integrate multi-platform digital campaigns.”

Campaign elements include an MSN homepage takeover, executed by Microsoft’s Premier Media Group, using interactive over-the-page ads. Fans of the show will be able to set DVR reminders, update calendars and send text alerts and e-mails.

A custom execution called a “transitional skin” will be launched on the MSNBC video player. Discovery will execute an MSN Mobile homepage takeover in conjunction, and Microsoft subsidiary ScreenTonic created a mobile site where people will be able to enter cell phone numbers to receive text message reminders to watch for the show.

There will be click-to-video executions on the Xbox LIVE platform, including a call-to-action sweepstakes that gives viewers mobile SMS codes to text for a chance to win Microsoft Points. These can be traded for games, movies and on-demand TV shows. Discovery will also run long-form video teasers “to excite the Xbox audience about tuning in to the season premiere.”

Targeted ads using the Massive in-game advertising platform will appear on several games including Ubisoft’s “Shaun White Snowboarding” and Electronic Arts’ “Madden 09.” Windows Live Hotmail will display demographically targeted ads and Discovery is purchasing search keywords on Live Search.

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