Set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest, the next chapter of Cruel Summer follows the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship. Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twists and turns as it tracks the early friendship between Megan, Isabella and Megan’s best friend Luke, the love triangle that blossomed, and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward. The main objective of Freeform’s Cruel Summer Season 2 “Cruelly Hacked” Takeover was to create a unique digital experience, expanding the world of Cruel Summer beyond our main marketing channels, and onto a nostalgic digital space.
The Cruel Summer fandom is accustomed to theorizing and playing along with the online clues of the campaign. To lean into this behavior, a “hacker” takeover across our social accounts launched leading into the finale. A faux hacker dubbed as “xUNKNOWNx” deleted all previous Cruel Summer posts and took over for the day, teasing fans with memes, polls, and conspiracies surrounding what happened to Luke Chambers. Fans participated in the activation, adding their own theories on what happened in the town of Chatham. Partners such as Hulu took part in the conversation as it expanded throughout the day, and even made its way over to popular Reddit threads to discuss.
The “Cruelly Hacked” execution yielded a 624% increase in reach vs the previous weeks’ time-period, heading into the finale.