“Arrow” Network: The CW
Date: October 10, 2012
Key to Success: Connect with a hero
Live-action adaptations of comic book storylines in television have seen varying degrees of success in the last few years, from The CW’s own good fortune with long-running “Smallville” to NBC’s ill-rated attempt at remaking Wonder Woman, so that when “Arrow” not only made it to fruition, but also became The CW’s most-watched show in three years, the network claimed its well-deserved victory. And with its marketing campaign sandwiched between two superhero-based films, (you may have heard of them: “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises”), “Arrow’s” biggest test was finding a way to stand out in the market while keeping the comic book audience interested.
“Our challenge was to present a superhero that’s on TV on a weekly basis,” said Chris Donovan, SVP of creative on-air and online at The CW. “So we took a character-focus approach to him. As a comic book character, we decided to put the character over the comic book.”
Arrow, the vigilante modeled after DC Comics’s Green Arrow, serves as a present-day Robin Hood, and couldn’t have shown up at a better, or more complicated, time. But it was showing the character’s evolution and “aim for justice,” according to “Arrow’s” tagline, that proved to be its strength. After teaser trailers following the upfronts and Comic-Con triggered a very positive reaction in The CW fans as well as critics, the network also created digital interview pieces, posted the episodes’ music, and featured clips and behind-the-scenes video on its site.
To keep its very digital and social audience engaged, The CW also notably ran a print ad in the October 5 issue of “Entertainment Weekly” that featured an LCD screen promoting its fall TV lineup. The screen had a video preview of The CW’s new fall shows and a scroll of recent tweets from the @CW_Network account. Amidst a campaign to bring its digital-focused audience back to TV, The CW relied on its persistent strategy to “reach our audience, as always, where they are,” said Donovan.