Season 1 of SHOWTIME®'s hit series YELLOWJACKETS, which follows a group of wildly talented high school girls' soccer players who descend into savage clans after their plane crashes in the remote northern wilderness, debuted to much fanfare. And in the months following the finale, the loyal fans (dubbed the “Hive”) did not let up on recruiting their friends into the fold. After announcing the Season 2 return date at the top of December, the holiday season became a ripe time to continue to leverage our Hive to help YELLOWJACKETS Season 1 top new viewers' watch lists during their down time. Our goal was simple: Create digital experiences as buzzworthy as the show itself, to continue to drive word of mouth.
We giftwrapped a way to bring the show into their seasonal celebrations. In lieu of the traditional cozy and warm Yule logs usually posted on social media, YELLOWJACKETS went in the opposite direction with The Anti-Yule Log. It connected Winter 2022 with the shocking events pictured in Winter 1996 subversively “encouraging” fans to warm up at the same snow-covered campfire where a main character froze to death in the final moments of season one. But like all things YELLOWJACKETS, there were secrets hidden beneath the surface if you knew how to look and listen.
The campaign for YELLOWJACKETS’ second season had just launched with a first-look image and release date announcement, and fans were clamoring for more content. Not yet ready to release an Official Trailer, we gave them something they didn't see coming and warmed them up for the wintery season to come by leveraging the Winter Solstice — the longest and coldest night of the year — to release our unique spin on a Yule log. There’s no homey, crackling fireside here — just the cold, the snow, and the dead of winter set to the series’ music and sound design.
Knowing that our ultra-engaged fans sprint to social to analyze every frame of the series, we hid audio easter eggs teasing dialogue from the upcoming season alongside an innovative YouTube hack hiding the series’ mysterious rune, visible only when scrubbing through the video.
While this platform hack worked on paper, it took hours of testing to find exactly where to hide these flashes of the rune, a challenge only exacerbated by the fact that each test required rendering and outputting a 2+ hour long video. Because even though the YELLOWJACKETS can’t fast-forward through winter, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try…
With our eye firmly fixed on the goal of breaking through holiday clutter to establish our winter setting, fans built buzz via word of mouth with social comments like “YAS, i have a new ambience to listen when I'm reading” and “Gathering blessings? Fear of the unknown? Chaos? Finding out truths? LFG.” On Reddit, raving comment threads included “I've said it before the way they reveal just enough to tantalize and drive us to madness...genius. Evil genius.” and “That was so cool — how do they make that happen?” Over on YouTube, we saw comments like “This is genius tbh. And with the dialogue Easter eggs,” “This is crazy. Innovative,” “Well this is different and interesting. Glad they put Easter eggs in 😂”, and “Loving the subliminal aspect here..... the whole thing is brilliant!” Selected earned media pickup included coverage in Vulture, Bleeding Cool, The Verge, and Salon.