On December 10, the homepage of MSN India carried an interesting Tata Sky banner ad, in which Twitter was integrated, so that real time conversation between visitors and Tata Sky's 'Actve Puppet' was possible, inside the banner itself. It was live for just three hours (3.30 pm - 6.30 pm).
The TV-headed puppet represents the 'Actve' or on-demand services of Tata Sky.
How did it work? To converse with the Puppet, visitors were required to enter their names; and the question or message in the Message-Box. Following that, they needed to press a button titled 'Tweet', shown in the banner. Within a few seconds, the submitted message, along with a reply by 'Puppet' was displayed in the banner.
For instance, a tweet entered by a user named Raghu (Actvefan: @actve raghu what will happen to Tiger Woods?") was replied by Puppet (Actve: @actvefan has he come out of the woods, Raghu? :P).
Namrata Balwani, chief operating officer, Media2Win tells afaqs!, "Although the conversation was displayed in the banner, but it was done on the Twitter platform on the back end, between two active Twitter accounts - @Actvefan (visitor) and @Actve (Puppet)."
She further says, "It was not a prerequisite that a visitor should be a Twitter user. Even Twitter members were not required to sign in to their accounts for conversations."
A click on the banner ad redirected visitors to a microsite, where they could read all conversations posted earlier on the banner.
Unlike its previous banner ads, neither Aamir Khan - the brand ambassador of Tata Sky - nor Tata Sky's logo was displayed prominently. The reason was, Balwani says, "The DTH service provider wants to highlight and personify Actve Puppet and give him a human touch."
She clarifies, "The core thought behind the Actve services communication is to make the TV dance to the viewers' tune, through the bouquet of interactive services. The puppet is a personification of this and he can do whatever a user wishes him to do. The idea behind the banner was to highlight the same; wherein the puppet can answer any question you ask, thus dancing to your tune. The best way to communicate this is through real-time interaction and Twitter is the ideal tool for that. With the buzz Twitter has been creating, it was the ideal platform to integrate our communication with."
Tata Sky plans to sustain the Twitter profile (@ Actve) of the puppet. It is important to note that this is not a one-time innovation. Tata Sky will run the Twitter integrated banner ad campaign again on MSN in the coming days.