Television network upfronts are traditionally insider events aimed at enticing advertisers to buy media in the upcoming television season. Our goal was to open up this industry experience to fans at home who may have never heard of the upfronts before, and get them excited about the talent and shows coming to the NBCU Cable Entertainment channels. Our solution was The Social Lounge. Nestled between the red carpet and the main stage at the Javits Center, The Social Lounge was a specially designed area for hosting celebrity guests and capturing invaluable content in the midst of the excitement of the upfront.
We invited select celebrity guests to visit The Social Lounge and participate in on-camera games and activities and have professional portraits taken. Bravo's Jenni Pulos hosted the proceedings, and welcomed talent including:
We created a pool of games for our celebrity guests to play while in The Social Lounge. Each game was a new spin on an old classic, and was designed with specific talent in mind. Games included:
As celebrities stopped by The Social Lounge, we captured their experiences through video and still photography. It wasn't enough to capture this content and push it out "later." We needed NBCU fans to feel like they were taking part in the upfront as it happened. We established a live editing suite as part of our extensive Mission Control, where editors prepped video packages for each network Outside of our video studio set, we invited celebrities to take professional photos on our Social Lounge photography set. We purposefully avoided the cookie cutter red carpet poses that have become ubiquitous at celebrity events, and instead aimed to express individuality and fun.
Each video package included:
We measured success based on the amount of usable content created, social reach, social engagement, video views, and hashtag usage. Because so many other upfront and NewFront events happened during this time period, it was also important for NBCU to outshine the competition with higher quality content and more fan engagement.
The Social Lounge campaign was an unmitigated success, bringing huge awareness to the upfront event, the NBCU Cable Entertainment networks, their shows, and their talent. Over 50 pieces of unique content were created and distributed over the course of the upfront event, including photos, videos and animated GIFs. Total reach on Facebook of Social Lounge content topped 5.8M. Total video views of Social Lounge segments was 1.3M (and counting). Total engagement across social platforms (i.e., likes, comments shares, RTs, etc.) was 315K. Day-of Twitter activity for our official hashtag, #nbcucable, surpassed every other cable upfront of the season (except ABC Family). NBCU Cable Entertainment Upfront social activity crushed every NewFront presentation; we nearly doubled the social activity of our runner-up competitor, YouTube.