Capturing attention during the Peak TV era is hard enough (600+ shows in 2022); it is significantly more challenging when giants targeting the same Gen Z / Millennial audience spend $100M+ marketing their tier ‘A’ titles. With a total budget a scan fraction of these rivals (far less than a single Super Bowl spot), Adult Swim skipped traditional advertising and risked 60% of total budget for something far more unexpected – create a global participatory living episode scavenger hunt that relied upon one of the show’s biggest advantages: the highly engaged Rick and Morty fanbase.
Our core fans are fanatics. The fan base has a very deep working knowledge of all 5 seasons of Rick and Morty canon. They were primed to follow, decode clues, and participate with original storytelling we aimed to tell as part of our global stunt - bridging the end of Season 5 and the start of new Season 6. Wormageddon created a IRL participatory story for fans to seek out, explore, and share.
With over-sized sculptures and art installations illustrating the story of this impending global Wormageddon battle secretly placed in locations on every continent, we crafted the clues to victory in Wormageddon. That victory lay in a series of Golden Rick Heads that one could only receive by solving a riddle necessary to reveal the locations of these 14 heads, then physically going out there to find the site-specific art installation.
Collaborating with Rick and Morty show writers, we crafted a custom narrative and brought that story to life through a series of social posts, original shorts and fourteen life-size buildouts (one reveal per day) that mysteriously popped-up across 6 continents over the course of 2 weeks. Starting with one single clue on Day 1, the web of Wormageddon spread every twenty-four hours from continent to continent, necessitating the creation of a whopping 72 total clues to guide curious fans to accurate coordinates. The Wormageddon campaign leaned heavily on 80's sci-fi influences: sparking neon glitches, Cold War-era ICBM maps of the globe, and glowing green terminals full of shifting text.
A kickoff carousel set the stage, teased the upcoming battle and explained the logistics. Cross-promotional posts were translated into xx languages to spread the word. Dozens of teasers were created to start dropping clues, ultimately 72 total clues and 200 total assets posted over the 2 weeks of Wormageddon.
Fans participated in the global battle for Earth by deciphering daily clues to find the installations (www.rickandmorty.com). Social conversations to decode the clues unfolded on Reddit and Discord - the internet hive mind working progressively faster to crack the next day’s clue. The first person to arrive and say the codename won a golden Rick trophy.
Over two weeks leading to the season 6 premiere, our globe-spanning living episode narrative of potential Wormageddon annihilation excited fans
Wormageddon was a success, having spread far and wide, giving fans around the world an experience they'll never forget.
• 100,000+ fans descended upon fourteen installations.
• Our social storytelling / scavenger hunt collectively gained +4M engagements.
• 33.69M total social video views, and 725K website visits.
• Wormageddon gained 1.5B media impressions within two weeks leading to premiere.
Uniting a global community of fans created massive US and EU engagement. Season 6 US premiere was the #1 Original Comedy on Cable with a total of 1.152M viewers.
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