Network: CBS

Date: February 3, 2013

Viewers: 20.8

Key to Success: Modernizing a classic

He’s more than 125 years old, but he’s having one of his best years yet. Resurfacing onscreen with a vengeance over the past few years, Sherlock Holmes has taken on many forms in many accents, but CBS’s iteration of the character in “Elementary” proves that audiences are still hungry for a new and different telling of his story.

Last fall, the network launched an updated, modern twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation, working with the NYPD instead of Scotland Yard and with Lucy Liu as the first female Watson to boot. To start it all off, CBS wanted to make sure you knew this wasn’t your grandmother’s (or your great-grandmother’s) Sherlock Holmes. To do that, they went online, partnering with data visualization company visual.ly to create an “Elementary” Facebook app that used Facebook Connect to analyze fans’ profiles then have Holmes report back some interesting tidbits about them. A mobile app was also released that used the phone’s camera to augment the show’s ads to reveal clues from the series.

But even with the technology and modernity available, CBS has found that nothing works better for them than appealing to their loyal viewers. “Cable, print, outdoor and digital media were all important components of the campaign,” said Garen van de Beek, EVP and creative director at CBS Marketing Group, “but nothing can replace the mass impressions you get with an on-air campaign. On-air allows you to show the show.”


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