At Monday’s IAB Social Media Marketplace, Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, offered a case study of the work his firm has done to promote the AMC hit series Mad Men. In so doing, he pointed to a key ingredient to some of the most successful social media campaigns: putting your fans to work on your brand’s behalf.
Schafer’s presentation, a case study on the massively successful Mad Men Yourself social marketing campaign, captivated the brand and agency folks in the room — what more appropriate audience, really? Deep Focus worked with AMC to create a site where fans could create an avatar of themselves as part of the award-winning drama. (That’s my avatar to your right!)
The challenge: AMC came to Deep Focus to devise a plan to engage the Mad Men audience in advance of the premiere of the third season.
The goal: Increase the premiere’s viewership from 2 to 3 million people.
The result? 1.3 million new viewers tuned in for season three’s premiere. In fact, after only one week of the campaign there was a critical mass of hits on the site. 600,000 unique avatars were created leading up to the start of season three.
Method to the madness:
- Deep Focus and AMC did the math. They figured out how many site visitors they would need to get their desired level of sharing.
- They understood that customers are media channels too.
- The campaign was a riff on an idea that came from one fan, freelance illustrator Dyna Moe, who was “MadMenningHerself” already on her personal blog. They hired her to do all the artwork on the avatar site.
- “Social Media is inherently narcissistic,” said Schafer. “People love to create versions of themselves.”
- They had confidence that they could turn this echo chamber inside out.
Takeaways for all marketers:
- “Know your audience, almost in the biblical sense,” advised Schafer. Understand who they are, what they do, what media they like and their hobbies.
- Reverse engineer success. Understand how many good users you need to spread the word and create a successful social campaign based upon your knowledge of your audience, what the ideal user looks like.
- Make it easy for your best users to bring others into the fold.
The Mad Men Yourself campaign has in fact been so successful that it is still running, and Schafer said they plan to use it as part of the campaign to promote season four as well.
I guarantee I wasn’t the only person in the room who Mad Menned themselves after the presentation and then told my network about it!