Paramount+'s critically acclaimed supernatural drama "Evil" follows the harrowing adventures of a skeptical forensic psychologist, a Catholic seminarian, and a technology contractor as they investigate purported supernatural incidents.
To promote the series, drive social sharing and word-of-mouth, and engage its excited fan base, Paramount+ devised a clever social media campaign to generate interest among viewers, encouraging them to delve into the show's world and uncover its secrets, both on social media and by scouring episodes.
"Evil" fans are hungry for content and Paramount+ fed the beast with a social campaign across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Fans ate up custom content that included demonic character cards, in-world ads, comedic-horror videos, assets created specifically from fans' comments, and TikTok videos that reached record views.
The "Evil" team took the fandom to another dimension, sending fans on a cross-platform scavenger hunt. Throughout the campaign, clues and ciphers were distributed in ads, social media posts, and even hidden within the episodes of the series themselves. The utilization of dark mystery and occult-themed puzzles was designed to reflect the secretive and sinister atmosphere of the series and immerse fans into the mystifying world of "Evil." Clever fans would compile and share information to uncover more secrets, leading them down a path of discovery, towards the possession of a creepy and artfully crafted artifact.
Across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok, fans utilized their detective skills and camaraderie to decode cryptic alphanumeric puzzles and sigils. The puzzles are also a throwback to season one, with each episode (except the pilot) featuring pieces that briefly appeared on the screen. Fans figured out that it was a map of Manhattan, which is the main setting for the series.
Over several weeks, more cryptic clues featuring imagery from the show were shared, until on November 5, 2021, a photo was shared of the front window at 71 Gallery in Manhattan, New York City. Eagle-eyed fans spotted a sigil in the window (referenced in earlier clues) and interpreted the photo’s strange caption to be a cryptic invitation: "Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks, receives."
Clues across social led fans to a real-life location, where they were rewarded with a canvas sigil map print. The map was designed with custom sigils, created by the team – an alphabet, number system, and character glyphs. Fans engaged across "Evil" pages to decipher the sigils, and then expanded the reach, creating groups and threads of their own. The "Evil" team dropped more mysterious messages across social media, and show creators began integrating the custom sigils into episodes. The team created a supplemental Instagram account specifically for the Sigil Map, to support the fan frenzy.
The activation was a thrill even for fans who did not directly participate in the hunt, and led to record engagement across all platforms. Many headed to Reddit and Discord to share images of the map, links to the original posts on Twitter and Instagram, and the "research" conducted by armchair internet sleuths.