For the last few seasons, USA Network has used make-believe crime games to promote their series White Collar. This year, they’re getting real and the FBI and GetGlue are all in on it.
The promotion is called “Real Life White Collar Crimes.” The website includes photos and information about some incredible stolen goods that have never been recovered, such as the Ruby Liberty Bell.
At the bottom of the page is a statement encouraging anyone with information to contact the FBI. USA provides a link and a web address.
Other listed objects include Edouard Manet’s painting Chez Tortoni which was stolen from a Boston museum by two guys dressed as police officers. There’s a 5 million dollar reward riding on that one. Also a gold 1870 Carson City Mint $20 Double Eagle coin worth over a million dollars and a Stradivarius violin valued at 3 million.
It may seem like fun and games but the FBI is serious about using this TV show to help recover these objects. So serious, they even talk about it on the official FBI blog.
But come on, it’s hard not to laugh when the FBI is backing reward stickers on GetGlue.
Then again, if you want to make an appeal to a wide audience, TV is the way to do it. Look at America’s Most Wanted. That show led to the capture of 1202 criminals and the recovery of dozens of missing children. (Wish that last number was as high as the first.)
It will be interesting to see if this program leads to the recovery of any of these items but I wouldn’t be surprised if a large number of viewers brush it off as just a publicity stunt – which, in a way, it is.
TV to Talk About
In related news, eMarketer just published a piece on how various social sites influence what we watch on TV. At first glance, the results were not what I expected.
Facebook came out on top across all age groups by a wide margin. Twitter came in second in spite of the fact that it shows up more often on TV in the form of hashtag campaigns.
GetGlue and Viggle both landed at the bottom, barely a ripple in the pool. Really?
I think the problem is the question. If you started watching a show because you saw an opinion about it online – where did you see that opinion. (Hopefully they phrased it better than I did.)
Given those parameters, it’s no wonder Facebook ended up on top. GetGlue and Viggle are not recommendation engines. They’re promotional systems that reward people for tuning in to a show on a regular basis. I tuned in to The Vampire Diaries yesterday because I always tune in, but I tuned in live and sat through the commercials because Viggle had a live trivia game. That’s the power of second screen apps.
So, I’ll give you that more people discover new shows via Facebook, but don’t count out the specialized apps. They’re doing a great job of keeping people coming back week after week.
What do you think of the FBI teaming up with White Collar and GetGlue?