“The Vampire Diaries” fans have a new reason to sink their teeth into Season 3 reruns during the CW show’s mid-season hiatus. On Thursday, the network launches CWingo, an interactive game for fans to play along as they track the progress of the show.
It’s like bingo with a social media twist, albeit without the smoky gaming hall or grandma and grandpa. The game requires viewers to log into the CW community via Facebook on their smartphones, tablets or computers to get the game board and challenge friends to see who the bigger “TVD” fan is. Each tile has a scene from the episode, and once it appears on TV, users click on it to move forward.
See Damon take a bite out of someone’s neck? Check! See Stefan and Elena walk into Mystic Grill? Check! Or see Tyler Lockwood or Anna the vampire ghost? Check and check! Get five tiles in a row and it’s bingo! — er, CWingo — without the frenzied yelling or running up to the announcer. (Watch a demo here.)
“Everybody knows how to play bingo,” said Rick Haskins, executive vice president of marketing and digital progamming, for the CW. “And CWingo is really easy and it doesn’t really disrupt you from watching the show, it enhances it.”
The network started with “The Vampire Diaries” because it’s one of its most-viewed programs and has a built-in online community with more than 9.5 million fans on Facebook. Still, in a market saturated with on-demand, TiVos and commercial-free DVR recordings, the network is targeting its key youth demographic to get back in front of a TV set Thursday nights and watch the shows live.
Other networks have fostered interactive online communities with message boards or Twitter hashtags — HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Fox’s “Terra Nova” are examples — but the CW has worked a way to bring back advertisers online and on TV. The games are sponsored, and winners receive a social badge for their Facebook profiles declaring them a winner and can later be eligible for bigger prizes, including a CW set visit.
The network plans to branch out the game to its other CW shows, such as “90210″ on Dec. 13 and eventually to all new episodes sometime next year. CWingo games for “Gossip Girl” and “America’s Next Top Model” are still in the works.
For now, fans can try it out during tonight Thursday’s “The Hybrid” episode, which is the Klaus-tastic Season 3 premiere from earlier this year. But beware: If you click on a tile before the image appears on screen, you turn into a vampire. Well, not really, but you do lose the tile for the rest of the episode.
– Nardine Saad
RECENT AND RELATED