How to help the fictional Selina Meyer, played by the award-winning Julia Louis-Dreyfus, go from Veep to POTUS? With a series of robocalls, voicemails, text messages and social media content, the way "real" political candidates do. Only better. And funnier. And more engaging for American voters, we mean, fans, not just digitally but also IRL.
Together, HBO and GLOW had grown Veep's social audience in season 2, but we jointly wanted to capitalize on that expanded base by giving loyal fans something to really blow them away in season 3. The "Robocall" execution felt like the perfect way to engage HBO fans on social, especially given the theme of the show. This version of a "get out the vote" campaign utilized a combination of a "mature" existing medium coupled with multiple forms of more modern messaging through social media, personalized text messages, voicemail and finally, the icing on the cake: a robocall from Selina Meyer herself. Talent participation by two of the show's top stars, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Matt Walsh, was also key to broadening this campaign's appeal and making it share-worthy for fans.
Ultimately HBO and GLOW were able to bring an exciting Veep-infused two-way communications experience to the fans, who appreciated the rare opportunity to interact with the characters and be rewarded for those efforts with a unique payoff. For the show, these Veep social efforts amplified the fan shares and drove to premiere awareness.
The Veep Robocall campaign brought the voices of the show's characters, and the actors who play them, to the people in a unique and authentic way via a parody of the way real politicians attempt to get out the vote during election season. It also seamlessly married digital activity with an IRL experience: hearing messages and getting phone calls from beloved television characters.
After Selina Meyer announced her Presidential campaign in Season 3, HBO and GLOW pushed out the Robocall phone number via social and drove fans to call it. We also directed people to http://isupportselina.com to show them what to do. Fans called and received a voicemail from Selina's Director of Communications, Mike McLintock (played by Matt Walsh), thanking them for their support of Selina's run for President and recapping her achievements, such as "senate reform, obesity, …that thing with the pet passports." Mike also told callers to text VEEP to a shortcode to help out further. Once fans texted VEEP, they continued to communicate with Mike via text, who delivered a custom Veep graphic integrating fan photos, which fans promptly shared on Twitter. All those who opted in were surprised and rewarded with a phone call from Selina Meyer herself. Fans tweeted out their excitement over having received a call from Selina Meyer, promoting the campaign and tune in to their own followers.
The numbers speak to how fervently fans took action—no apathetic "voters" here!—to engage with the campaign, both digitally and IRL. The hotline received 8,000 calls and 1,739 people then received the Robocall, with a total of 14,994 voice minutes used. On the SMS front, the campaign received 18,533 inbound texts and sent out 21,351 outbound texts for a total of 39,884 total texts. The website statistics were robust as well, with 13,073 pageviews. Socially, there were 491 Twitter shares, 282 Facebook shares and 113 Tumblr shares.
A winning social media, digital and IRL activation for an award-winning show. And while the Veep in this case didn't technically win the presidential election, there's now a woman in the White House…at least in the fictionalized version of it.
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