Paramount+’s "1883" is an epic, gritty new Western drama series that acts as a prequel to Taylor Sheridan's hit drama series "Yellowstone." It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and chronicles the story of one family, the Duttons, as they make the treacherous and arduous journey from Texas through the Great Plains to seek a new fortune in Montana. The tale of the Duttons as they flee poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land is brought to life by the all-star cast, which includes the likes of real-life couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton, while Academy Award nominee and acting legend Sam Elliott portrays Shea Brennan, the tough-as-nails cowboy that guides the family on their pilgrimage. Other notable talent includes Isabel May and Marc Rissman.
Though it is related to "Yellowstone, the setting of "1883" makes it a very different experience. Paramount+'s goal was to intrigue viewers with an ad campaign that would highlight the stark differences of its period setting. Its behind-the-scenes featurette conveys the intriguing level of authenticity required to create a lasting campaign that would stand apart from the competition and perfectly match the tone and style of "1883."
To promote the series, Paramount+ created a compelling on-air promo inspired by ambrotypes, an early form of a photograph that’s processed on glass and was popular during the era in which the show is based.
The production of the promo revolved around a photoshoot that utilized era-specific tintype photography that was popular in the mid-19th century. Photographer Sarah Coulter oversaw the process of staging the cast photos, developing the tintype negative, and then bringing the entire process to life utilizing a high frame rate Phantom camera to capture slow-motion shots of the development process, with water, fire, magnesium flashes and exploding light bulbs. The finalized assets were then animated to create moving images which were then used for eye-catching on-air, social, digital, and out-of-home placements.
The behind-the-scenes look at the process offers viewers a period-specific look at life in the late 1800s, illuminating the past in a vivid and nostalgic way while building excitement around the monumental first season of "1883." The promo also provides insight into the cast and crew's passion for the art, allowing a glimpse into the ingenuity and attention to detail required to attain its level of authenticity. The genuine approach to the archaic art form transported viewers back to the rough and rugged era of "1883." The Final product was used for marketing across DOOH, On Air, and on social platforms.
The campaign to drive viewer interest in "1883" has been massively successful, with the show routinely ranked among the most-watched streaming series of the year. "1883" had the biggest premiere of any cable show since 2015 when it debuted, pulling in 4.9 viewers when it aired and another 2.5 million through encore showings. It’s also a SAG Award nominee.