Buena Vista Immerses Press in ‘Lost’-Themed Event
ABC’s “Lost” is doing a pretty good job of generating hype on its own. But when Buena Vista Home Entertainment was nearing the launch of the series’ first-season DVD, it was clear that no ordinary media event would do.
“We wanted to create an event that got our talent, guests and the press to experience ‘Lost’ as if they were really in that environment,” says Gordon Ho, executive vp-brand marketing and business development at BVHE. “We wanted to enable the press to feel excited about it—to be able to have in-depth conversations with the talent about the DVD and the show, and then translate that to the consumer.”
So, three weeks before the DVD release, the company flew hundreds of media to Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort. Upon arrival, each guest received a travel itinerary for a flight on Oceanic Airlines, the fictitious carrier whose plane crash leaves the characters stranded. To get to the event site, participants took a “flight”—actually a tram ride—complete with Oceanic flight attendants and a rocky “landing” at a darkened jungle. Piped-in wilderness sounds and a live wild boar (caged, thank you) set the proper mood, and an airplane fuselage formed the backdrop for the main stage. Event elements like music and refreshments were built around key attributes of the characters; and, of course, “Lost” cast members were on hand to field interviews.
“We literally had to come in, clear out branches, and create an event space out of nothing,” says Dan Kough, president-event marketing at Northridge, CA-based Paradigm Shift. “Even the cast was shocked. They thought it was just going to be a party. But everything was reflective of the [show].”
The program generated 159 million impressions, including major play on “Access Hollywood” and “Entertainment Tonight,” in USA Today and in dozens of other media outlets; and the product became the No. 2 TV-on-DVD of the year and generated record reorders.