Smart Screen

Vast Media Smart Screen Round-Up: ‘Better Call Saul’ Trivia, a ‘Genius’ Chatbot

Here’s a run-down of best-of-April second screen-related entertainment items, via Berlin-based research and consulting company Vast Media.

• For the April 10 premiere of the third season of “Better Call Saul,” AMC went all out with a pair of online initiatives, including a branded web series and an online game.

The web series — “Los Pollos Hermanos Employee Training” — is available on the AMC web site and its apps, and featured a collection of tongue-in-cheek training videos for new employees of Los Pollos Hermanos, with AMC promoting the show with SXSW, Los Angeles and New York pop-ups of the infamous restaurant chain first seen in “Breaking Bad.”

Drug kingpin and “Los Pollos Hermanos” owner Gus Fring hosts each weekly, two-minute episode (debuting after the weekly broadcast of “Better Call Saul”), offering different tips to new employees on how to offer good customer service, with careful viewers able to pick up some hints of the underlying drug trade occurring at the restaurants.

Additionally, AMC also promoted “Better Call Saul” with the April 17 introduction of a weekly bingo trivia game, with questions covering all three seasons of the show. The interactive game rewards repeat players with bonus content after they’ve correctly answered three questions.

• To help further promote the release of “Iron Fist,” Netflix debuted both a fake newspaper site, the “New York Bulletin Archive,” in early April, with characters Joy and Ward Meachum discussing the business of the series’ Rand Enterprises.

Fans visiting the site found a fake ad for the dojo run by character Colleen Wing, Chakira Dojo, which redirects those who click on it to a web site about the dojo and Wing. The site features a testimonial section, and a few hidden Easter eggs, including social media sites for Danny Rand and a LinkedIn profile of the CEO of Rand Enterprises, Ward Meachum.

• For the debut of its new series “Famous in Love” and premiere of the seventh and final season of “Pretty Little Liars” on April 18, Freeform launched a “Pretty Famous Contest,” offering viewers the chance to become famous themselves.

The contest allowed viewers to submit videos in one of five categories (singing, acting,
dancing, comedy and beauty) with instructions for each related to both series.

The web site featured a gallery of those who submitted videos, with viewers allowed to vote and share across social media web sites.

• Before the April 25 premiere of the 10-episode series “Genius,” National Geographic Channel debuted a Facebook Messenger chatbot based on Albert Einstein, with the conversational tech engaging users in everything from science and the universe, to love and music.

Using natural text input, those who engaged with the bot also got some insight into the major plot points of the series.