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From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Black Sails – Talk Like a Pirate Day Attack

Entered in Real-Time Response


The Starz program, Black Sails, is a drama that paints a realistic version of the pirates that sailed the waters of the Caribbean. The network asked TVGla to devise a campaign around Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) that would allow Black Sails to "attack" brands using improper pirate terminology like, "Arr," and "Yar." The basic strategy was to search Talk Like a Pirate Day related hashtags, seek out well-known brands or brands that might engage back, and use the harsh, realistic Black Sails voice to skewer their content. The end result was a successful attack reported on by online media and several brands did interact with the conversation.

Strategy and Execution

Starz requested a campaign to help build buzz for their show shortly before launching their marketing campaign for the second season. Secondary goals were to give current followers excitement to see their favorite brand tweeting again and new followers from retweets and media buzz.

TVGla was given the green light to be very aggressive in what brands were targeted and the coarseness of language used. The Black Sails pirates were not going to take anyone's shit that day. Most brand-to-brand interactions play out with friendly humor and wraps up on good terms. This was not the goal for Black Sails. The account was to go for the jugular and take no prisoners.

Two content producers and a designer spent ten hours hunting for victims and responding swiftly with force to those who made mockery of pirates. Black Sails went after 61 brands that day including Applebees, Ben and Jerry's, Cap'n Crunch, NASA, Skittles, White Castle and more. The Black Sails posts were retweeted hundreds of times and over 1,000 people chimed in to support their efforts. In the end, the campaign grabbed over a quarter million impressions.

Not bad for a pack of ravenous thieves. Now, will you be giving us that award or are we going to have to take it?

Entrant Company / Organization Name

TVGla, Starz