An Investigation Offers Clues

Investigation Discovery, the channel that on Jan. 27 launched using Discovery Times' bandwidth, has started a consumer marketing campaign that invites viewers to solve a crime through deciphering clues on TV, online and on their phones.

The campaign centers on a missing-person case being solved by fictional homicide detective John Brannan.

On-air clues will ask viewers to get voicemail messages, visit microsites such as, and go to Investigation Discovery's Website to find more facts on the storyline and eventually solve the case. Three 60-second on-air spots are scheduled to run through February, followed by five more that will debut this spring. Online, the network has created a fictional blog for Brannan and posted virtual tours of his office and documents from the investigation.

The campaign was created by L.A.-based Stun Creative's design studio, Buster Design, for Investigation Discovery. The company retained Mike Bonvillain, director of photography for ABC's Lost and the box-office hit Cloverfield, to lend the spots the feel of having been shot with a handheld camera. Cliff Martinez, who has composed soundtracks for Traffic and Solaris, was brought on to create mysterious music for the spots.

"To excite our viewers about the channel's new brand, we wanted to draw them in through an activity emblematic of Investigation Discovery," said the network's senior VP of marketing, Derek Koenig.

The campaign recalls one that Court TV (now renamed TruTV) launched in 2006 to promote its show Parco PI. The network created a fictional blog and fake billboard ads written as Dear John letters from a woman spurned, and placed calls to morning news shows about the woman in an effort to create buzz for the show.