Want to show off a three-screen internet service as a universal entertainment platform? Well, you’re going to need some entertainment content that isn’t already locked up in prohibitive platform-specific licensing deals. (Premium TV, I’m looking at you there.) So why not use a polished web series instead? AT&T did just that in its national media push for U-Verse by featuring Blake Calhoun’s Exposed in the campaign that launched this past fall.
The full AT&T U-Verse spot:
We asked Calhoun, who also directed the series, just how this opportunity came to be. “It was really completely out of the blue,” he told us. “AT&T wanted to feature a web series in their new U-Verse campaign and we’re told they reviewed close to 200 shows, then narrowed it down to three (we don’t know who the others were), and ultimately chose Exposed. So far the spot has run for two 13-week cycles (including during the World Series) and is being considered for a third, and has featured the iPhone, Blackberry Torch and the new Windows phone.”
But it wasn’t just a free lunch in terms of promotion for the Exposed team, as the two lead Exposed actors featured in the spot—Chase Jeffery and Sara Henriques—”have both been paid handsomely,” added Calhoun. “As a matter of fact, they’ve made considerably more on this than they did for actually being in the show. I’m not letting them forget that either.”
Despite the mass market exposure of the ad spots, the web series itself didn’t get its name into the spots and lost out on an opportunity to drive significant viewers to the show. “Since the show itself is never mentioned and the title is not shown, the only way you’d know it was Exposed was if you had already seen it,” said Calhoun. “But hey, I’m not complaining. I’m very honored they chose our show to be in the ads.”
In other news out of Calhoun, he did confirm that his long awaited follow-up series Continuum, which stars web series standouts Taryn O’Neill and Melanie Merkosky, is set to debut sometime this year, in the “not too distant future.” Given that we’re only a week into the year, it’s about as non-specific as you can be about it. But we join in with the list of people eagerly awaiting this one.