The multi-pronged campaign for E!'s successful first scripted series, The Royals, was highly innovative, rooted in social media, and resulted in a rabid fan base who dubbed themselves "The Loyals." This digital marketing operation began nearly a year out from the show's March 15, 2015 premiere and leaned into the unique attributes of the series – glamour, exclusive access, scandal, power, drama, high fashion. Original digital video content was created extensively leading up to premiere and throughout the series run. Examples of the most bold, attention-grabbing original digital content includes a mock Queen's speech from star Elizabeth Hurley that was delivered on the same day that the real Queen Elizabeth delivered her annual Christmas message, garnering massive social/press attention and helping to align the series with British pop culture. Tumblr was also utilized to bring to life "D-Throned" the faux tabloid publication from the series that covers the show's royal family extensively. The "publication" updates fans with behind-the-scenes tips, extended story lines and Royals faux-pas. The show's biggest viral success came from the viral video of a naked man repelling from Buckingham Palace, which led media outlets around the globe to cover the story, and was later revealed as an E! hoax to launch "D-Throned."
The E! audience is heavily engaged with social media and our mobile products, especially during big premieres as they seek out a more immersive content experience to engage in the social conversations while viewing an episode. To connect with this highly engaged audience for "The Royals" launch, we leveraged all forms of mobile and social interaction to give our audience a taste of its content and characters in a way that would stand out from the crowd. Our strategy was to entertain them with a taste of the scandal they could expect from the show by leveraging the popularity of the real royal family with our audience by tying into a real British cultural event. For example, we released a 'tourist' video of a naked man climbing out of a window at Buckingham Palace on YouTube. The video was picked up by the press and it quickly went viral around the world, gathering 1.5m views in 24 hours. Once we had gained a critical mass of views we released a second video, linked to the original, revealing the 'back story' behind the naked man and introducing the Royals very own wild child, Princess Eleanor. The campaign has garnered over 2.5m Youtube views since it launched and was covered in the press all over the world.
Through original mobile friendly content and a massive takeover of social media throughout the entire launch of "The Royals" we were able to create an extrodinary experience for our audience that allowed them to get fully immersed in the show. "The Royals" quickly emerged as a fan favorite, ranking as the biggest new original scripted series on ad supported cable in 2015 (excluding spin-offs).