Astral serves up movie lovers’ faves in new ads

The media co debuts new hyper-targeted online ad software that targets audiences with genre-specific creative to promote its new HD offerings.

Canadians have a few days of glorious lounging time in front of them, and The Movie Network is taking the opportunity to remind them they could be spending those days choosing movies from its library of over 400 high-def flicks.

The Astral-owned network launched a six-week advertising campaign this week through its media properties to promote its HD offerings.The primary media is online, with rich-media ads appearing on the Casale network, a two-day takeover, Gorilla Nation network, AOL Media (, etc) and AdSplash (,,

Other media include Astral’s digi boards and transit shelters in Toronto, 30-second ads on Astral stations, affiliate print materials, Facebook and its branded YouTube channel. All five HD channels, including Movie Network HD, HBO Canada HD, MPix HD, MExcess HD and MFun! HD, are being promoted through the campaign.

The strategy behind the campaign is to niche-target movie lovers with genre – drama, action, family – using a new proprietary software tool, developed by Toronto’s teehan+lax and TMN’s in-house marketing and interactive departments. The software is integrated into the rich-media ads deployed on the various networks and, pulling from the TMN database, it fills the unit with genre-specific creative assets targeted to the site it appears on. As the user engages with the ad, fresh material is pulled. The goal was to create a rich media experience without having to make the ad unit expandable, Dave Stubbs, marketing, teehan+lax, tells MiC. If the user clicks through TMN’s subscriber-recruitement microsite,, they are carried through to genre-specific creative with the goal of further engaging the user.

The media strategy behind the technology extends to building future camapigns for TMN as well, as the users’s engagement with the microsite is tracked by the software, allowing Astral to gather information about target demographic and genre preferences. So if a person is driven from an ad on a male-targeted site, through to action movie content on and ends up looking at indie films, Astral can use that information for future creative and ad buys.

‘It’s a lot of fun,’ Gail Rivett, vice-president, consumer marketing, Astral Television Networks, tells MiC. ‘We wanted to pursue something very defined and digital so we could see the response rates and the metrics for each (film) genre.’