After Monday night's airing of the television show "Heroes" on NBC, a brief message invited viewers to share their theories about how the series will conclude. The message instructed viewers to visit a page - and domain - sponsored by Cisco, www.nbc.com/heroes/cisco. It's an interesting branding strategy by Cisco and revenue opportunity by NBC.
For those unfamiliar with the show, "Heroes" is about normal people who discover that they have super powers, set in the fantasy/science fiction genre. One could argue that "Heroes" viewers would be somewhat more technically inclined and Web savvy than say, "Matlock" watchers. It could then be argued that "Heroes" watchers would pay closer attention to a URL on their television screen and more likely to remember and possibly share the Web address. When you visit the page, there are three large Cisco/Heroes ads. One takes you to the Cisco home page while the other two (initially blocked by my toolbar pop-up blocker) take you to a Cisco page to learn about the "human network" where "we all have extraordinary abilities" and to share theories on the hit NBC show. What I find very interesting is that when a user types www.nbc.com/heroes/cisco into their browser, the URL redirects to www.nbc.com/heroes/theories. It seems like a missed branding opportunity to me - I often copy and paste URLs into emails to share with friends if I like a site, not to mention simply looking at the top of my screen to remember where I am.
All in all, it's a very interesting idea - sponsored domains and branded landing pages. It could be a way for many sites to generate more revenue or offset costs of expanding websites if the right partner is found. For example, www.yourlocalretailer.com/shoes/nike.