The Importance of Social Media Marketing to Television Series and Shows.

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This blog will give a guide for potential TV employers and also marketers on what makes the best marketing ads for television series and shows. The concept of the this guide can also be applicable for any type of ads and not just TV’s series ads.

There was a time that television only sat in your living room, and indeed it still does. However, the difference is that you no longer have a television because you also probably own a smartphone, laptop, tablet, computer, desktop computer etc…making this the birth of the second screen (Proulx, 2012). Proulx goes on stating that ‘ between 60% to 70% of people, when they are watching TV, also have a second screen device, such as laptop, an I pad or mobile device turned on.


Thus, televivion is not longer a solitary experience. It has become more interactive. For example, channels, TV series are chosen by people based on the information that they get from friends online on FaceBook and Twitter. A study by the Hollywood Reporter found that over half of the people use social media to make choices about enterteinement. Going through social media, they can find what their friends said about the last episode, read about spoilers and talk about the latest gossip on the show. The study showed that of those who post about TV shows, 76% do so live and 51% do so to feel connected to others who might also be watching(Prouxl, 2012).


The main advantage of social network for television, is that it allows television producers and advertisers to get instantaneous feedback about their programme. People often, tweet in real time during the television show what has already happened, about what they think is going to happen or what situation would have given a better ending to a series. Thus, informing the producers and writers of the show what people liked and disliked (Bennett, 2012). Foley 2013, argued that this has a lot in common with marketers, since the works of TV drama writers demands the same effort and creativity of a marketer when coming to a marketing advertisement, challenging how people perceive things.


Breaking Bad, became a content- driven business function, advertising about episodes of the critically acclaimed cable TV and Netflix series on FaceBook and Twitter creating an active engagement with its fans/viewers. On FaceBook has now 10.8 million fans and more than 1,12 million on Twitter. Vince Gilligan, the creative genious behind Breaking Bad took the stage at Eloqua Experience 2013 conference in San Francisco, California. The conference is the biggest event of its kind, bringing more than


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As evidence of that trend, Oracle recently acquired Compendium, a cloud-based content marketing platform that helps companies plan, produce and deliver engaging content across multiple channels aligning relevant content with customer data and profiles to help companies effectively attract prospects, engage buyers, accelerated conversation of proposals opportunities and drive revenue growth(Foley, 2013). Chris Baggot, Compedium CEO stated that ‘ By combining this buyer profile with Compedium data-driven content marketing platform, marketers, will be able to deliver the right content, to the right person across the right channel at the right time’(Foley, 2013).

Andrea Ward, Vice President of Eloque Marketing interviewed Gilligan at the conference and he said:

‘At the beginning, the odds were against Breaking Bad as the story is about a 50 years old man who’s diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to cook and sell crystal methamphetamine to support his family. This was counterintuitive in terms of what would appeal to a TV audience…I was surprised that the show even went on air on the first place.’

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Based on this interview, Foley came together with main 5 rules for great audience customer engagement.


Rule 1: Embrace Unconventional Thinking


Gilligan stated that: ‘to assume the audience is less smart than I am would be really short sighted, really dumb…Assume the audience is smarter than you are, and they will hold you in good stead’


Rule 2: Never Underestimate Your Audience


Gilligan stated that: ‘TV dramas and marketing are both creative pursuits that are heavily dependent on the power of the written word…when we are writing a script, we are selling our product, our story, to the audience. People want to be told a story, be surprised, and occasionaly be taken on a ‘wild ride’’.


Rule 3: Master of The Art of Storytelling


Gilligan asked: What TV and marketing have in common? ‘They are both visual mediums. Script writters and marketers must think in graphic terms and convey messages using visual elements, so you can see it rather than say it.’ Says Gilligan.

Foley says that marketers and advertises have long understood the impact of photography, illustration, and film, and they are getting increasingly sophisticated in how they use images to promote their brands. You can see this in the Jaguar ad below where the aim of the ad was to take the XFR-S and draw Jaguar’s iconic Leaper logo with tire marks on the tarmac. The ad is indeed very cool and worth watching.


Also the photo below shows how a picture is worth a thousand words.


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Rule 4: Incorporate Eye-Popping Visuals Into Your Programs


Gilligan said that: regarding the team of writers he worked with for two to three weeks per episode… ‘We saw ourselves as the primary viewers of Breaking Bad’


This emphasises the idea that the marketer must put himself in the position of the customer. However, this may be a very hard challenge when it comes to break conventional thinking. Most of the time, people are afraid of trying new things and may be reluctant to do so. Thus, before coming up with an unconventional way of thinking it would be advisable to measure the moral values and trends of the customers.


Rule 5: Make Customer-obsessed Marketing a team sport


Andrea Ward comment that ‘The big take away of the interview with Gilligan was the way he managed the collaborative process together with other writers at team, which this can then be applied in marketing adverts.


A recent Nielsen’s study reported that 33% of all users on Twitter tweeted about television shows. Thus, again emphasising that TV shows cannot afford to ignore Twitter and also FaceBook following the success of Breaking Bad with over 10 million fans (Bennett, 2012). This should not be ignored specially when many of the actors and producers of the show are active on Twitter, and tend to be very responsive towards their fans such as the TV series “Pretty Little Liars”, which is the most twitted show of all times.


Another success on Twitter is American Idol, on which generated on the last season roughly 5.9 million comments online.


Furthermore, Taylor 2013 suggests that the audience can help to advertise the show. For instance, months before the launch of the Dark Knight, Warner Brothers launched the award-winning “Why So Serious” campaing, which brought Gotham City to life. The video below showed how the campaign encouraged over 10 million fans around the world to visit land marks around the world in full joker make-up, creating a huge amount of buzz for the film.



Whilst FaceBook and Twitter will be almost certainly at the centre of social media, that does not mean smaller platforms such as Instagram should be

avoided. The Film ‘The Great Gatsby’ cleverly used Instagram filters to make photographs of the film actor.

Instagram has recently adopted a 15 second video component to their platform as a direct competition to Twitter’ Vine and gained some popularity in its first 24 hours with 5 million videos uploads. Instagram video functions affordances such as photos, it has filters and users can also upload their own videos to edit as well. It seems like this form of advertising could be seen as influential in the mass advertising.


Taylor also suggests competition and quizzes in social network as an innovative way of driving engagement online, being a strategy of good balance of low risk and high reward that usually never fails to bring up buzz.

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Competion on FaceBook is  great idea for small size business due to its affodability.


Taylor goes on suggesting TVs to do something remarkable. Seth Godin, one of the brightest mind in the marketing world, summed it up perfectly when he said: ‘ By definition, remarkable things get remarked upon”. When Game of Thrones market their latest series in the UK, they erected a bus sized dragon’s head, appearinf to have been washed up on Dorset beach.


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Another incredible TV series marketing ad recently adopted was on Tinder. People who watch the USA’s hit show Suits which is also shown in the UK typically fall within the same age range of Tinder users—18 through 49. It only made sense that the two ended up pairing up for the dating app’s first network promotion. After swiping through a few people in their area, Tinder users had the opportunity to match with character’s Harvey Specter or Rachel Zane, depending on their sexual preference.

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Lessons learned:

The main secret behind a good marketing campaign is to make the content fun, interactive, up-to-date with trends (as seen on Tinder example) and align it with the brand attributes what you want your customers and fans to notice most. As seen previously, marketers must think just as hard as a TV series writer in order to make a good visual impact. Therefore, be creative, and always put yourself in the shoes of the customer in order to get their perspective. However, be cautious when it comes to break conventional thinking, and consider how audiences might take it the wrong direction.


Proulx, M & Shepatin, S. ‘Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media and Mobile. (2012)

Bennett, S. ‘Twitter is the Driving Force Behind Social Television says Nielsen Study’ (2012) accessed at:

Foley J, Breaking Bad’ Meets Mordern Marketing: 5 Rules Of High-Impact Content. (2013) accessed at:

Richardson, J. ‘6 Brand that used Tinder as a Social Media Marketing Plataform’(2014) accessed at:

Taylor, M. ’17 Tips For Marketing Films & TV Shows Online (2013) accessed at:

Verdina Z A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Storytelling with Instagram.

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