While the television movie events for the phenomenon Sharknado happen only once a year, Syfy and GLOW embarked on an effort to keep the conversation with fans going all year long, not just immediately prior to and on premiere day. With this mission of "no show goes dark," the goal was to communicate well, regularly, and relevantly on Twitter to maintain control over the audience to increase fan loyalty, identify superfans and test organic performance during the off-season. This would help provide an even stronger—and yes, hungrier—audience base to launch Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! and keep the love alive until Sharknado 4.
On July 22, 2015, the day of the premiere of Sharknado 3, Syfy and GLOW aimed for this television movie event to surpass its predecessor's standing as the most social movie on TV ever (Sharknado 2 received one billion Twitter impressions in 2014). While Sharknado 2 set the social bar very high, it also created major momentum that we knew we could leverage to make our launch as well as our year-round campaign a success.
To ensure that the American audience had no excuse not to be talking about this franchise on Twitter, we needed to launch and maintain a must-see level event by creating best-in-class creative, increasing engagement from Sharknado 2 and engaging a broader Twitter community during the lead-up, in real-time during the premiere and for the period after. We also had to devise a sustainable tweet strategy and incorporate social into the story.
To launch Sharknado 3, we created best-in-class Twitter creative; deployed buzzworthy custom and templated activations that were launched across NBCU properties and sponsors to increase awareness; engaged influencers, celebrities, and talent with tailored content to leverage their large followings; and created "FOMO"-inducing content to drive viewers to tune in to this can't-miss event.
To amplify the star power of several celebrity guest stars who appeared in Sharknado 3, we created content tailored to each celeb that they could share with their own fans and we could push out through our official Twitter handles as pre-premiere teasers. We sent custom content to active Sharknado superfan influencers to get them talking about the movie. Additionally, we partnered with influencers on Twitter and Vine to encourage them to produce their own content and share it through their social channels, which we in turn retweeted. To cheekily drive home the point that not watching Sharknado is "un-American," we paired the talent with historic American quotes in a "Great American Quote" series. Lastly, we worked with Syfy's 6 sponsors to make custom content tailored to their brands in a playful way.
During the airing of the premiere, we deployed our Twitter War Room to provide real-time responses to fans as they were watching. We replied to fans not only with personalized interactions but also with the added a bonus of pre-made content. We also had graphic designers on hand to make content on the fly around moments that were resonating in the Twitterverse to ride those waves as they rolled through.
To help kick of the post-premiere and sustaining campaign efforts to keep the "'Nado" present on Twitter throughout the year before the movie even finished airing, we leveraged the final cliffhanger of whether or not a lead character would live or die. We pushed out the two hashtags #AprilLives and #AprilDies to let the fans weigh in on her fate.
To keep the killer-shark-talk alive with fans during the yearlong period before the next Sharknado returns, Syfy and GLOW devised a plan to manage community and engage with fans who tweet about Sharknado—whether they're watching for the first time or as a repeat—on an ongoing, regular basis. By hopping onto trends in real-time and speaking to holidays and major events from the 'Nado's very unique POV, we have been able to stay relevant and keep Sharknado top of mind with the audience.
For instance, we created trend alerts inspired by various trending hashtags on Twitter, around which we put together relevant creative, including GIFs, and copy. Some example hashtags include #2015in5words, #DearSantaSorryFor, #FirstDayOfWinter and #AlltheWine.
Additionally we recognized and celebrated holidays and special events, everything from Thanksgiving and Christmas to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and Talk Like a Pirate Day, with fun, shareable creative and messaging.
From January 1 to December 31 2015, we achieved astronomical growth for the Sharknado franchise, including Sharknado 3. On Twitter, we increased our Followers by 42%, enjoyed a 74+% growth in Total Retweets and a 51+% growth in Total Tweets.
For the pinnacle of the campaign—the premiere of Sharknado 3—social engagement was incredible in terms of both interaction and impressions. The campaign successfully chomped its way to two billion Twitter impressions for Sharknado on the day of the premiere—double the number of impressions from Sharknado 2. The #Sharknado3 hashtag alone matched Sharknado 2's overall performance in impressions. On Twitter, Sharknado trended #1 in the U.S. and #2 globally. Sharknado 3 was the most social program on television during the day of the premiere in Twitter activity (392K mentions), surpassing the performance for Sharknado 1 and Sharknado 2, which both ranked among the top five programs (78K and 65K Twitter mentions, respectively). The hashtags #AprilLives and #AprilDies earned nearly 40K tweets through the morning after the premiere, peaking at 11:05PM on 7/22 with 9K tweets.
In addition, Syfy was the most social TV network in Twitter mentions (552K) on the day of the premiere. By way of comparison, on premiere day, Sharknado 3 had more Twitter activity than when Hillary Clinton announced her bid for President via Twitter, every episode of ABC's The Bachelor Season 19, every episode of Mad Men's final season and every episode of Better Call Saul Season 1 on AMC.
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