Ever since I noticed the buzz around ABC network primetime show Scandal via social media I have been hooked. ABC and the writers are selling an experience and engaging millions of people with weekly do not move from your seat episodes. ABC aired their fall finale of Scandal Season 4 on November 20th, 2014 with a return date of January 29th!
If you aren’t familiar with the show:
Scandal, a phenomenally popular television show on ABC, has much to teach the social media marketer. Scandal stars Kerry Washington as the fearsome and formidable Olivia Pope, a former White House staffer and professional “fixer” who spends her time managing the crises of Washington’s elite, dodging attempts on her life, and thwarting the advances of her former lover (the President of the United States, no less). There are plenty of conspiracies to unravel and backs to stab, so it’s no wonder that critics and viewers were slow to take to the show when it first aired. Yet by the conclusion of its second season (2013), the show was a bona fide hit, regularly drawing almost 9 million viewers. It’s up even more in the key demographic Adults 18-49 +43% compared with last season, according to Nielsen.
So how is emerging media affecting today’s marketing efforts?
Scandal has become a live event where the DVR is not an option. People are spending time in front of the TV with digital and mobile devices and from my experience Twitter is the main way people are interacting with the program followed by Facebook.
Twitter is the best channel for direct communication with consumers; it is an easy and cost-effective way to gain exposure for your brand. By using social TV the network paved the way for future dramas as a collective multimedia experience versus traditional measures. Television drives campaign reach, but digital provides incremental reach and the opportunity to reinforce advertiser messages across platforms with increased frequency. Consumers are using second-screens in ways that are natural extensions of the programming they watch. (Nielsen state of the media, May 2014)
41% look up information about characters
29% use email/text to communicate
18% read conversations on social media
12% send votes or comments
“The Show That Twitter Built”
With over 500,000 Twitter followers and 4.3 million tweets last season ABC succeeded in growing “Scandal” brand following.
Here is how ABC’s Scandal recruits fans on Twitter:
Rally fans on Twitter to drive them to the live airing of the season three premiere
Use specific hashtags and existing fans or (#gladiators the label devotees have adopted for themselves) to drive new fans to the show via Twitter. The network, ABC, actively drives viewers to the live-tweeting using both on-air hashtags and promos tagged with voice-overs such as “to tweet with Kerry Washington, use #AskScandal.” After the star Kerry Washington finished live tweeting she gained more than 16,000 followers in one night.
Record ratings for the season three premiere of the show with 10.5 million viewers, more than 700,000 Tweets about the episode according to Nielsen
By using Twitter and Facebook in just a few creative ways mentioned above, the network has enhanced their traditional ways of advertising in attracting viewers to the show. The combined social network and ratings growth from season one (2012) to season three (2013-14) is truly an overnight success.