To promote the third season of the high concept horror series The Strain, FX aimed to create a campaign that highlighted the show's visceral nature, but also integrated a solid dose of humor. The goal was to attract new fans to the show, while creating content the existing fan base would actively share.
FX kicked the Facebook campaign off with a (forked) tongue-in-cheek video featuring actor Richard Sammel as his fan-favorite villain Thomas Eichhorst. The video used intentionally lo-fi graphics, cheesy music, and outdated stock footage to create a Propaganda-style infomercial that featured Sammel encouraging the audience to give up and give in…and willingly forego their human life for that of a vampire. The video gave Sammel a chance to chew the scenery into oblivion and included fun inside jokes and Easter eggs for the die-hard fan.
FX followed-up this video with a visually stunning 16-bit video game series. The social media team had an opportunity to capture each of the main actors acting out their most famous fighting move (against a green screen) to be later integrated into short videos/GIFs. Each video had a main character paired against their enemy, animated in a 16 bit style, and paired with humorous copy in the tone of classic Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter video game aesthetics.
To reassure fans that the show hadn't forgotten it's horror roots, FX also launched a Strigoi-focused propaganda campaign with a series a still assets on Facebook. This campaign echoed the themes of the Eichhorst video ("Give yourself over to us and become a vampire") but in a darker, more sinister way. Graphics used refined gore and a dark aesthetic to imagine a world in which vampires were slowly taking control, extending a major theme from the show to the social space.
Finally, to straddle the line between both the dark and light themes, FX created a series of character graphics to re-establish the show's major players in a pulp magazine style. These cards gave each character a fun new title (The Exterminator, The Heart Breaker) paired with visually stunning representations.
Throughout the season, the show's Facebook account continued to give equal weight to both of these tones, accurately representing the themes of the show that fans had grown to love.
The fan reaction to this mix of high quality content was overwhelmingly positive. Fans were very excited to see elements of the show they loved represented in the social campaign. The Eichhorst video kicked things off with over 130,000 views on FB alone. The video game series then really struck a nerve with fans, tallying over 700,000 views on Facebook. The Facebook campaign took a risk by pursuing humor, but the fanbase responded with marked enthusiasm.
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