Even up against the stiff competition of Sunday Night Football and Game 4 of the World Series, reimagined fairytale characters of “Once Upon A Time” worked their magic to garner some of the highest ratings for a drama premiere last fall.
To introduce the tale of storybook characters such as Snow White and Prince Charming, cursed to a modern-day existence with no recollection of their previous lives, ABC went down two paths: leverage the pedigree of show creators and LOST veterans Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, and appeal to the broad audience familiar with fairytale characters.
ABC kicked off the campaign by debuting the series at Comic-Con, and attendees spread the word so quickly that before the fall premiere, the series already had more than 450,000 Facebook fans. It didn’t hurt that Kitsis and Horowitz brought with them plenty of somewhat hidden LOST references (apartment number 108?) and a familiar style of intense storytelling.
“These are characters that people know and love, so to explore the characters in a totally different way is unique and refreshing,” said Marla D. Provencio, CMO at ABC Entertainment Group.
ABC also dispersed theatrical character posters, heat-activated coffee sleeves and even lenticular bus shelters with magic mirrors, but all the while, were careful not to term this a “fairytale,” making sure “Once Upon A Time” fans knew this was no remake.