Ekstra Bladet turns its Web site into a home cinema during lockdown

By Joen Jay Dahl

Ekstra Bladet Native

Copenhagen, Denmark


Have you ever seen the premiere of a TV series on a news site? At Ekstra Bladet, neither had we.

For most people, the past year has been everything but business as usual, and the same applies to brands that have been forced to explore new ways to connect to their target audiences. Among the questions they had to ask were: Do you wait for the pandemic storm to blow over? Or do you reinvent yourself and take a leap of faith?

The goal of the campaign was ambitious: To turn Denmark’s largest news site into Denmark’s largest cinema.
The goal of the campaign was ambitious: To turn Denmark’s largest news site into Denmark’s largest cinema.

Reaching audiences in new ways

In October 2020, HBO Nordic and its media agency, Carat Denmark, reached out to us at Ekstra Bladet Native for help to find a new way to release their content. It needed to be something innovative that embraced the new situation worldwide with the global pandemic, already forcing drastic changes to consumer behavioural patterns.

While most of the entertainment industry was hurting during the lockdown, traffic on Ekstra Bladet was booming — and that gave us an idea: Why not turn Denmark’s largest news site into Denmark’s largest cinema?

To meet the goal of gaining critical mass exposure in the nationwide broad 18-54 target age group, the native partnership was based on the following KPIs:

  1. Achieve an innovative but effective exposure for the release of the new HBO Nordic series, Beartown.
  2. Create relevance, awareness, and interest for Beartown.
  3. Recruit live viewers and later viewers for Beartown.
  4. Get a positive vibe around the HBO Nordic brand.

Pairing a digital streaming platform like HBO Nordic with an online news platform was an opportunity to explore uncharted territory. To meet the objectives above, it would require us to utilise the full technical extend of the online platform of ekstrabladet.dk.

Challenging the new normal

The objective was to use both a classical as well as an innovative native advertising strategy to meet the KPI’s of the campaign. Despite this being our first attempt at this format, we set an ambitious goal: to be the largest cinema in Denmark. 

That meant a combination of the typical tabloid-written articles usually associated with Ekstra Bladet and high-impact display banners — embedded with the Beartown trailer — to add further awareness of the main event.

By taking advantage of the relatively new editorial possibilities, we created an entirely new format for native advertising on ekstrabladet.dk — Native Live — by commercially live streaming the very first episode of Beartown.

The gamble pays off

Overall, the campaign was a huge success, reaching more than 2 million Danes in the one-week span of the campaign, which used two native articles and display banners leading up to the live-streaming event.

These results satisfied HBO Noridic as well as its media agency,  dentsu x: “The launch of Beartown required a combination of wide reach and a creative approach,” said Jonas Qwuist, integrated business director at dentsu x.

“Launching a mini-series required a strong front-loaded effort, as well as qualitative awareness [and] Ekstra Bladet gave us this combination. The cooperation was very powerful; it was not only media buying but a partnership we entered. The creative approach to our concept combined with powerful tech as well as editorial project management has contributed to the success we feel the campaign was.

“This is reflected in the well-documented results — and it confirms us in our strategic choices and methods concerning the launch.”

The success of this pioneering project has sparked both internal and external ambitions. We are now looking into creative ways to replicate the lockdown cinema campaign while adding creative and interactive layers on top.

About Joen Jay Dahl

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