After a four-season absence from Shameless, fan-favorite actor Noel Fisher was set to return as the beloved character, Mickey Milkovich, one half of a top series hashtag, #Gallavich. We knew his return would ignite the passionate fanbase, which created an opportunity to do something different on social when announcing the news.
For years, YEARS, fans have been trolling the Shameless, Showtime, and cast accounts asking for Mickey’s return to the series. On. Every. Post. They’ve created Twitter handles, Instagram profiles, and tumblrs, posting 1000s of GIFs, UGC, and even photos from set. Their passion, at times, has bordered on bullying!
We devised a plan to troll the fans RIGHT BACK by faking a Mickey super fan hack of the official Shameless Twitter account to announce the big news. It had to be done quickly, as the possibility of his return might somehow get leaked…by a super fan.
We threw out our social playbook and carefully planned every detail of the campaign:
- We knew the hashtag could be nothing but #bringmickeyback
- We determined the time the hack should launch to avoid suspicion of a marketing stunt - after business hours
- We scripted copy in the tone of a frantic super fan who had just gotten control of the official Shameless account and might lose it at any moment - full of typos, curses, and joyful chants
- We developed creative and bio copy that mimicked what we’d seen from them over the years, which would slowly transform the profile
- We planned our engagement strategy: Spam the feed, RT and respond to our fans, and give them a voice in the #bringmickeyback movement
- We planned an awkward full stop to look as though the hacker had been shut down the moment someone suspected it was a stunt
- We waited several minutes to launch a John Wells Production scripted video of Noel Fisher in character, which was posted to break the news
- We enlisted Shameless talent, fellow victims of the trolling, to confirm his return via their own profiles
- We notified leadership, Corporate Communications, Customer Support, CBS Information Technology and Security teams, and Twitter and told them - we’re hacking the Shameless Twitter handle, don’t worry if this is reported
The hack lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes
The #bringmickeyback movement began trending nationally within an hour.
In less than 12 hours, we earned:
Video for Shameless: Hacked
- 665K Total Interactions on posts
- 3.5M Impressions
- The surprise video was viewed 700K times
- The stunt was picked up quickly by press including Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Deadline
- 4 Talent Tweets earned 61K Retweets, as well as thousands of comments
- And converted the trolls to thousands of excited and happy fans