Ash vs Evil Dead was coming to STARZ, and it was going to be groovy. The series is a reboot of the classic movie trilogy by its original crew with its lead actor, Bruce Campbell, reprising his role as reluctant hero Ash Williams. Ash is foolhardy. He's arrogant. The only thing about him that feels polished is his hair. Almost everything about him – his taste in music, his style, and his mannerisms – feels out of place in today's society. But after he mistakenly resummons Evil during a bender, he's once again mankind's only hope for survival.
Fans had been waiting 25 years to see Ash renew his battle with Evil. They had kept the Evil Dead franchise alive with video games, comic books and cosplay. Our goal became to craft a marketing campaign that satisfied their craving for nostalgia and also appealed to new horror-loving audiences. No pressure, right?
What we had going for us was that with advances in modern technology, Evil Dead fans could now do more than just talk about Ash; they had the opportunity to talk to him by proxy. Social media gave us the opportunity to channel the bravado and camp that was unmistakably Ash Williams to connect with fans on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. It also gave us the opportunity to reach audiences on a broad level with striking creative, ongoing community engagement and smart paid media buys.
Ok, so we had our goal and persona down. Now what were we going to do? We needed a plan. Unfortunately, we weren't going to be able to learn much from Ash himself. The guy's approach to life is "Shoot first, think never!" and that just wasn't going to work when it came to marketing Ash vs Evil Dead on social. We had to put a lot of thought into how we brought a legend back to life on the interwebs. We decided to build around a series of key events leading up to the Halloween premiere to give fans a steady diet of all things Ash vs Evil Dead. Those milestones were:
SAN DIEGO COMIC CON
Released the first look trailer across social following the Ash vs Evil Dead panel, amplifying it with targeted paid media buys
Tested different audience segments in order gain insights that informed overall media buying moving forward
Encouraged diehard fans to dress as Ash by releasing a series of "Nice Ash" graphics with photos of Evil Dead cosplay
ASH 4 PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN
Our fans repeatedly posted how Ash Williams would be an ideal presidential candidate, so it was time to give the fans what they wanted. No matter how unqualified he was, we threw his name into the ring.
Launched a Twitter handle and microsite where users could download campaign materials and share them on social
Live tweeted the Democratic debate on October 13
Commented on breaking political news in real time, including Donald Trump's Google history and Michelle Obama's fashion
Gave away thousands of campaign packs to supporters including lawn signs, posters, etc. and showcased fan art on Twitter and the microsite
Released the first four minutes of the season on Facebook and Twitter the week of premiere to drive additional anticipation
Partnered with Nerdist to live stream the #AshBash Hollywood premiere event on Periscope and staged a booth that fans could share GIFs to social
Sent thousands of viewing party kits to Evil Dead fans and influencers, including beer pongs tools, bottle openers and posters
Live tweeted the #EvilDeadMarathon airing on STARZ the night before premiere, engaging with fans re-watching the movie trilogy before Ash vs Evil Dead began
Designed a custom Ash's Guide to Halloween content series to educate fans on how to properly conduct themselves like Ash
Partnered with Facebook to onboard cast members including Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless, launching with exclusive rapid fire Q&As shot at Facebook headquarters
Content series such as What Pablo Learned and Deadite Spotlite that drove conversation around each episode
A Reddit AMA with Bruce Campbell
A steady stream of GIFs uploaded to Giphy and then shared to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr
A "Dear Ash vs Evil Dead" Q&A on Tumblr where we answered fans' questions on their everyday lives
A Facebook Q&A with series star Dana DeLorenzo utilizing the platform's new LIVE feature leading into finale
Talk is cheap… especially if it's coming from Ash Williams. That's why demonstrating tangible results (our boss helped us with that corporate jargon there) was most important when looking at the campaign. Thankfully for the Ash vs Evil Dead team, the results were good. Mind-blowing even. We…
Drove some of the largest lifts in awareness (top 5%) and intent to tune-in (top 2%) that Nielsen has ever seen for a TV campaign on Facebook
Drove more Facebook trailer views at San Diego Comic Con than new videos from Star Wars (+475%), Hunger Games (+243%) and The Walking Dead (+178%)
Generated the greatest lift in buzz for any TV series or film at San Diego Comic Con according to ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings
Saw the highest positive sentiment ever for a STARZ show on Twitter
Drove the most Periscope views ever for a Nerdist live stream during the #AshBash premiere event
Garnered more than 4K comments in the Bruce Campbell Reddit AMA with a 93% upvote rate
Were named one of the Top 10 New Shows on Social Media in Fall 2015 by The Hollywood Reporter
Were routinely mistaken for the voice of Bruce Campbell himself by 1M+ Evil Dead followers across social
Almost got Ash Williams nominated for President… almost.