The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Hemlock Grove Season 2

Entered in Animated GIFs


Hemlock Grove is a Netflix original series that gained a dedicated following for its unique blend of supernatural terror, dramatic suspense and seductive charm. After the show was renewed for a second season, Netflix wanted to capitalize on what made the first season successful, while making the series accessible to new viewers and a broader audience. Integral to our strategy for achieving these goals were the creation of GIFs, which were used to reintroduce characters, highlight memorable moments, and tease the new season. This content was posted across multiple social platforms, including Tumblr and Twitter.

Ultimately, the GIFs created for the Season Two premiere performed remarkably well in comparison to the typical performance we were seeing for the show. Some of the most successful GIFs generated engagement rates up to seven times higher than our best performing graphics. On the day of premiere, we saw more fan posts and tweets than we did for the original series premiere, with widespread positive sentiment.

Strategy and Execution

One of our key learnings from the first season of Hemlock Grove was the high level of fan engagement and interaction generated by GIFs. While GIFs served as an element of our content strategy, we saw an amazing array of fan-made GIFs featuring the show's most memorable and visually stunning moments.

Armed with this knowledge, we decided GIFs needed to have a much larger presence in support of the show's second season, and would be a fundamental component of our overall social strategy. With this mentality, we proceeded in a few different ways:

(a) Inspired by our fans, we created GIFs that recapped key moments from Season One, and teased upcoming moments in Season Two. These served to refresh users of the first season's storyline through easily digestible content, and allowed new fans to join the show's community without having viewed the first season.

(b) We used GIFs to introduce new characters and reintroduce returning ones. These engaged both new fans and old, as we wanted to make the second season as accessible as possible. These character GIFs were purposefully minimalistic, playing upon the art developed for the new season.

(c) We redesigned our Tumblr page to highlight a GIF featuring one of the show's most popular characters. We also coded the page so that it was friendly for viewing and sharing GIF sets and Super GIFs, which were created and posted throughout the campaign. These types of GIF executions employed a collage-type effect.

(d) In addition to repurposing our Tumblr to highlight GIFs more prominently, we also began to leverage Twitter after the platform announced they would begin accepting GIFs about a month before the second season premiere. We posted a GIF that highlighted one of the main characters on the day of this announcement; GIFs continued to be posted on this platform for the duration of the campaign.


- GIFs consistently generated better performance than standard graphics, due to the nature of the platform.

- Animated character poster GIFs, such as those for the characters of Peter and Shelly, had strong organic performance, generating a greater number of likes and reblogs than the majority of other posts.

- Our fans also exhibited their excitement and support for the show through their engagement with countdown GIFs. These included the Season 2 Announcement Super GIF, as well as the "Season 2 Now Streaming Super GIF" (below), which organically generated nearly 2K notes.


- As previously mentioned, we posted GIFs on Twitter the first day the platform started to accept them (June 18). We created a unique character GIF specifically for this date, highlighting one of the most popular characters on the show, Roman; while more subtle and subdued in design, it played upon the dark and mysterious style of the series. This GIF had strong performance relative to the benchmark the handle was seeing, with retweets and favorites exceeding our averages by 48% and 32%, respectively. Other GIFs in this style, such as the one that featured Miranda, also achieved excellent engagement.

- In addition to the character and countdown GIFs utilized on Twitter, we also tested the use of more unique and innovative GIFs that would serve to stand out on the platform. Our "Sick Dreams" GIF (below) played on some of the most disturbing images from the show, and garnered a significant number of favorites.

Ultimately, our efforts drove a higher volume of conversation around the second season premiere than the original Season One premiere. On launch day, there were about 20% more posts about the second season than on the first season's premiere day, with convicting positive sentiment. This conversation and buzz continued for weeks after the premiere, and the show's success ultimately led to its renewal for a third season.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Netflix, Brigade


Entry Credits