Previewing the Horror: These Scary Movies, TV Shows and Spooky Initiatives Have Great Social Campaigns

In social tv on August 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Netflix, Hulu Plus (with or without ads), Amazon Prime, TV on Demand.

The competition for TV shows, movies and entertainment in general is stiffer than ever and only getting worse. One inexpensive and necessary solution is social media. To get your show renewed for a new season or to ensure that your summer blockbuster makes $$ at the box office, companies and brands must show social interest and socially listen to what the fans want to see as well.

Click here to read how Hollywood monitors social chatter to target films.

With Halloween just around the corner, Horror Blockbusters, spooky TV shows and others have the chance to capitalize on the natural interest in fear.

Here’s what  a few TV Shows, Movies and other Horror Entertainment Social Outlets are doing well:

1. Great Multimedia  A new summer classic for me, Guillermo Del Toro & Carlton Cuse’s The Strain chronicles a Vampire apocalypse in the heart of New York City in the form of a spreading disease. While the trend of TV shows is heading in the direction of large lapses between seasons (Sherlock, Doctor Who, etc.), The Strain does an awesome job during both their on and off season on Facebook and Instagram. Their biggest strength is their graphic design and short video pieces that take their posts well beyond just “Tune in Tonight.”

Here’s an awesome Facebook post that fit timely with the show and, in a way, worked to simulate a real apocalypse. The raw, scientific aspect is important in the show, so of course it’s great that their social media would echo that.

They also worked up this super cute multimedia history of the Occido Lumen and came together with all of FX digital for the FX emojis app, which features The Strain texting emojis. (Click here for iOS download).


Kill the worm, kill the vamp. Posted by The Strain on Sunday, August 2, 2015

WHY IT WORKS: This is a graphic TV show– in a good way. The Strain content producers know their audience and what keeps them coming back to the show itself and it’s social channels.

2. Different Platforms/Behind the Scenes There’s really no in-between. You either live for Haunted Houses or you won’t go anywhere near them. Ever since I was about 5, I’ve been the first of those two options chasing down every scary haunted house I could get an adult to take me too. Now, I humbly consider myself a Haunted House Expert (I acted in one when I was younger). All of this goes to say that Haunted Houses are a lifestyle brand: meaning it’s not something most people just want to appear at and enjoy.

There’s huge interest in what goes into building the sets, the make-up, the costumers and the almost move quality production. Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando (#HHNUniversal), is utilizing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to convey excitement and behind-the-scenes building of this year’s houses. Each time they announce a new house, they make a big reveal of it on social media. Beginning MONTHS in advance, these announcements make it seem like it’s almost Halloween. With all of this in mind, Halloween Horror Nights Orlando launched a Snapchat where fans can engage daily without ticket messages but with pictures of gore & houses.

WHY IT WORKS: There are so many things in October on a family or individual’s consideration set. Seeing the houses or sets from beginning to finish make the audience not only feel a part of the process, but locks in their decision to make the trip or buy the ticket early.

3. Cast Member Involvement  I must admit that I had no idea who Kevin Durand or Dean Norris was. Okay, Dean might have looked familiar from that one episode of Fairly Legal, but neither were pulling me into watching The Strain or Under the Dome because their name was on the Cast list. Now, they are two of the most bad-ass bad guy fighting characters on Summer TV. I can’t say for sure that this is the TV Show’s encouragement or just happening on their own, but these two guys have taken Cast Member social media to the next level. They live tweet during new episodes of their respective series and seem to be generally interested in what fans have to say. This used to come from AMA’s or Twitter Takeovers and it still does. However, messages and commentary coming from their personal accounts just seems so authentic! Seeing their passion for the show can only make fans more and more interested. I hope to see more of this across the board, but these two actors have perfected tweeting at the right time to the audiences with the right hashtags. (Instagram too!)

Y’all ready for us tonight? @thestrainfx #TheStrain #EvilRootsRunDeep A photo posted by Kevin Durand (@thekevindurand) on Jul 26, 2015 at 10:38am PDT

Sidenote: Extreme props to the fan who commented on that Instagram post something about The Strain worming it’s way into our hearts.

WHY IT WORKS: Authenticity and passion. Fans can tell actors are loving being a part of their own shows which makes it so much more fun for fans like us, investing hours in a Netflix Binge.

4. Eye Catching Promoted Posts As the battle for timeline visibility on Twitter and Facebook gets more and more crowded, many brands are dishing out major bucks to assure their content is seen. Many social users would likely say that they do not enjoy or click on sponsored content (please comment below if you have thoughts!). But I would go as far as to say that most general users of social media do not notice which posts are sponsored and which are not as Twitter has so seamlessly woven them into the design. The content barely stands out from accounts the user already follows and algorithms spit out content so relevant, social media users are probably seeing content they think they already follow.

My point here is not to debate if ad spend is worth while or not, but to share an anecdotal story of how it has worked on me as a social consumer. I follow a lot of scary movies, authors, TV shows, etc. so when I saw this ad for Sinister 2, I assumed I had followed the account years ago before noticing that it was sponsored content. The advertisement tweet was catchy though, utilizing Twitter’s white background to create this hideaway image:

WHY IT WORKS: A simple, clever ad that also has the right amount of terror to summarize the movie is a great example of a perfectly executed social piece. It didn’t feel invasive to my timeline, and the hideaway effect made it memorable.

What movies or TV shows have you seen creating interesting and compelling campaigns?


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