The power of a compelling social media campaign to engage audiences, build awareness and inspire viewers is undeniable, especially in a crowded television landscape where digital platforms often hold their own against traditional networks.

One of the biggest drivers of success is creativity, and there was no shortage of that this year, with a wide range of campaigns that connected with fans in brilliant ways. We’re talking customized videos, live rap battles, a chat with a serial killer, bold instagram mural art, and an entire movie—emojified.

Based on Brief analytics, here are five of the most popular ways television shows are used social media to drive marketing in 2017.

5. ‘Marlon’ YouTube Campaign Continues to Connect After Finale

NBC’s YouTube-based digital marketing campaign laid the foundation for viewers to discover Marlon Wayans’ The Marlon Way even after the first season finale aired.

The network worked with Wayans to produce 10 custom vignettes that highlighted the themes of each episode, and also partnered with three YouTube creators to microtarget demographics within the African American audience.

4. Live Rap Battles Build Social Buzz for TBS’ ‘Drop the Mic’

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.

Prior to kick off, part of the success stemmed from the social influencers themselves reaching out through their own online communities across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to fuel excitement for the fan-based activation, and create buzz in their own authentic way.

3. ‘Mr. Mercedes’ Bot Offers Chat with Serial Killer

Audience development agency Mistress developed a Facebook Messenger campaign for Audience network’s thriller Mr. Mercedes that shows what can be done with the technology: A chat-bot experience uses artificial intelligence to let users talk one-on-one with the show’s sadistic serial killer, Brady.

It was a fun and unique way for a viewer to engage with the show, but even better, once that viewer was hooked, it was a direct and unfettered way for the show to engage back.

2. Freeform Launches ‘The Bold Type’ With Bold Social Media Campaign

The network commissioned an Instagram artist to create two murals inspired by the scripted series about three women in their early 20s who work at one of the country’s top women’s magazine, Scarlet. One mural, located located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, said “I’m not a boss bitch, I’m a boss, bitch.” The other, located in Venice, Calif., said “Women get shit done.”

The murals were barely mounted before people started posting them on Instagram and across social media.

1. ‘Descendants 2: Emojified’ Takes Social Content to the Next Level

Filters, memes, emoticons and more made their way from social media to a feature-length film. Disney Channel incorporated the social icons throughout Descendants 2: Emojified in a unique encore presentation of the TV movie.


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