This Wednesday, the queens of Comedy Central return with season 3 of Broad City, and rather than resting on the laurels of their established fandom, the network hatched a campaign that latches onto the defining fabric of the show: friendship…and sports?

YASSSSSSSS.

“We wanted to really listen and hear what are the parts of the show that people feel the most passionate about. While we are in season 3 and we have a huge fanbase, it’s also an opportunity to build the audience,” said Lu Chekowsky, SVP Brand Creative. “This idea of friendship took front and center stage. How can we make a campaign that shows them as the friends that they are? We wanted to put the lens squarely on that space.”

The team was spinning around ideas to open the lens up to a new audience, prepared to go forward with a basketball theme featuring stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. But it wasn’t until the Manny Pacquaio/Floyd Mayweather fight last June and a suggestion from the ladies that their campaign crystallized: BOXING.

“Friendship inspired it. Pacquaio brought it home,” said Chekowsky.

Entering its third season with an existing, passionate fanbase certainly helps.

“In some ways it makes our job a lot easier,” said Chekowsky. “Our intention is not only to make great creative, but we want to make great creative that makes our core fans become our best advocates. Their point of view on a piece of creative has way more traveling power than anything we can do on our own.”

Oftentimes networks stand pat when a show has developed its audience, but that’s no longer realistic in the saturated TV landscape. Now it’s an opportunity.

“The third season can be a challenge at times because in the past, you get to the third season, and we’re like, we have our people. It’d be great to get more fans but we are kind of here,” said Chekowsky. “In our opinion, this season is where it’s going to break the most broad because this show has been like a hurricane, just gathering and gathering steam.”

In addition to the boxing spots, Comedy Central has focused on behind-the-scenes coverage from the shoot, including a story on Snapchat.

But the biggest stunt was the Paint By Numbers mural activation on February 6, where upwards of a thousand fans showed up in the Brooklyn cold to help paint a design from Broad City intro artist Mike Perry.

“It was nuts. We had fans lined up there at 9:30 waiting to paint and the thing didn’t start till noon,” said Shawn Silverman, VP, brand marketing at Comedy Central.

The experience, which trended on Instagram under #BC3, included photo opportunities galore, with fan favorite Bingo Bronson in person and an Abbi and Ilana boxing cut out. The first 100 queens to arrive received a “Broad F***ing City” shirt, and there was a prize wheel gifting other BC swag such as posters, hats and stickers. The nearby Kinfolk Bar was rented out, so after painting the wall, fans could enjoy a free drink and play around with coloring pages of the wall design.

“We really wanted to eventize the whole thing. If we’re going to get people to come out there to paint the wall, we wanted to make sure that there were other things that they were able to do,” said Silverman. “I was actually shocked at how many people just hung out to color afterwards. It was a really fun event.”

This campaign was indicative of Comedy Central as a brand.

“We look at all of our campaigns to be not just about our shows but about the Comedy Central brand,” said Chekowsky. “I think this is a great articulation of what we want to be, to elevate the messages that are speaking to our audience about the kind of comedy that we are and the channel that we are. It’s an exciting time at Comedy Central.”

The time is coming for the bell to ring in the match of the century, when Broad City season 3 begins Wednesday, February 17 at 10/9c.

[All images courtesy of Comedy Central]


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