Ahead of TBS’ premiere of Drop the Mic, visitors to Los Angeles’ Universal CityWalk experienced their own special rendition of the show as six social influencers came together to battle it out on stage.
Hosted by LA radio personality Big Boy, the partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts helped generate hype for the Tuesday-night debut of the comedic music competition series. The Deuce star Method Man and Hailey Baldwin host the program based on the popular segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden, where celebrities put their battle rapping skills to the test.
The CityWalk event brought together social influencers such as improvisational freestyler Harry Mack and beatboxer KRNFX as those in the park stumbled upon some Hollywood magic in the form of a head-to-head rap competitions on October 18.
The fan-based activation serves an example of what TBS sees as an important part of its branded marketing strategy, especially when rolling out a new show, said Jenn Cohen, SVP of entertainment content partnerships for Turner Ignite.
“There’s definitely something about adding on to that linear experience,” Cohen said.
The live nature of such an event generates a unique energy as people come together for an experience, and it lends itself perfectly to digital and social components—which she calls essential.
Part of the success of the Drop the Mic activation stemmed from the social influencers themselves reaching out through their own online communities to fuel excitement.
“The energy of that individual comes through as they speak directly to their social environment and their social circle,” she said. “That’s gold. The more we can start engaging and bringing people into this experience, the better, not only for the program, but the brand itself.”
Prior to kick off, the influencers posted videos across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote the event. Some of them rapped about it. Others gave a simple shout out. All of them did something in their own authentic way to create buzz that paid off.
“This event could not have happened without them,” Cohen said.
On the day of the Drop the Mic rap battle event, the show’s social engagement saw a 571 percent increase from the day before, hitting its peak for the past 30 days with 140,200 total engagements, according to Turner data from social media analytics and insights company ListenFirst.
Drop the Mic also gained nearly 5,000 cross-channel social fans on the day of the rap battle event, tracking nearly 3.9 times more than the show’s daily average rate for the past 30 days.
TBS and Drop the Mic social handles were also very active throughout the two-hour activation with live stories and constant updates.
“If you weren’t there you could definitely catch the story,” Cohen said. And TBS has followed up with branded content videos capturing highlights from the day that posted on social just before the debut, targeting audiences for tune in to the premiere.
The event, Cohen said, was part of a branded partnership that felt organic.
“We were able to built it from the ground up with them,” Cohen said, and the collaboration created a unique opportunity for both brands to meaningfully connect with the attendees and network fans.
With TBS interested in doing more live activations, and Universal enthusiastic about hosting fun, family-oriented experiences, CityWalk was a great location as a crowd gathered around the rappers to watch the battle of words.
“Our goal was brand awareness,” Cohen said, “and we have definitely accomplished that with this promotion.”