WWE on A&E Superstar Sundays have wrapped – for now.
Sunday nights scored for A&E over the summer, with season two of its WWE programming block taken to the next level by showcasing WWE’s high-profile talent via a multi-platform marketing strategy.
The promotional support behind the nine-week event that ran from July 10 through September 4 was a true collaboration across A&E and WWE, pushing tune-in and brand awareness for Biography: WWE Legends, WWE Rivals, and Smack Talk at every step and driving audiences across all platforms to view the content.
“WWE is a hugely visible brand. But A&E is telling the stories fans can’t get anywhere else. What’s the story behind that epic match or that signature move? Providing that insider experience is our value proposition. Shots you haven’t seen, bites you haven’t heard, all wrapped up in a heavy dose of nostalgia. That’s our special sauce,” said Elizabeth Luciano, senior vice president, marketing and brand strategy, A+E Networks, in a statement.
The campaign’s goal was to leverage the strength of the WWE brand to appeal to its existing fan base while staying true to the A&E brand. The solution was a 360-degree multi-platform campaign that targeted both the casual and the mega fan to make WWE on A&E Superstar Sundays a hit, reaching an average of more than 28 million total viewers across the franchise since it debuted on A&E.
To uniquely position WWE on A&E, the team blended the action and intensity of the WWE with A&E’s storytelling style to bring viewers close to the action, constantly showing and talking to WWE top talent to reveal the unexpected reality hidden behind the curtain – or in this case, inside the ring.
With a deep slate of WWE programs, the team looked to establish Sunday nights as a WWE destination, while positioning Biography: WWE Legends as the hero show to drive audience for the entire night. The built-in brand equity of the Biography brand, the big-name talent, and the premium documentary-style storytelling created the biggest opportunity to bring in a broad audience. Once viewers tuned in, an immersive on-air experience, including promos, encouraged viewers to stick around for all three shows. In addition, bold graphics with tune-in messaging and social hashtags kept viewers watching through WWE Rivals and WWE Smack Talk.
“A&E has been a great home for WWE programming. Its viewers have a strong appreciation for storytelling, which has allowed us to showcase our content to new audiences,” said Chris Kaiser, executive vice president, television, WWE, also in a statement.
WWE Smack Talk
From a linear perspective, promos ran across the A&E Network as well as on video-on-demand and TV Everywhere platforms. Cross-channel support ran across sister network The History Channel, which converted around 105,000 viewers to Biography: WWE Legends.
After running a sweepstakes last year, A&E was able to stay in touch with subscribers to promote tune-in and engagement via an email-newsletter.
A buzzy press plan created additional awareness and excitement, including interviews with WWE talent – such as Undertaker, The Bella Twins, Goldberg and Booker T – across such top entertainment publishers as Entertainment Tonight, Extra, People, Sports Illustrated, Dish and the NY Post. In addition to talent interviews on Barstool Sports’ podcasts, A&E also partnered with the sports platform for a multi-handle support campaign across its network.
A multi-platform organic social campaign ran throughout the season to engage fans and promote tune in to the projects. Fans received exclusive access to the Undertaker during a full day social “Undertakeover” activation and conversation with the legend himself, and more. Fans also enjoyed a collaborative event between WWE and A&E celebrating the new series, WWE Rivals, during an exclusive screening and panel at WWE’s fan fest, SummerSlam.
In addition, A&E pushed out marketing assets across all WWE platforms, including high-impact takeovers of the WWE.com homepage on day-of premieres, editorial coverage on digital, social promotion by WWE’s roster of Legends and Superstars – all of whom have large followings and fanbases – promos in WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown, and announcer mentions in WWE’s premium live events.
And A&E went off air to reach potential viewers beyond A&E’s and WWE’s platforms and to build viewing frequency. This segment of the campaign was working to build a strong TV presence across season one’s top-performing cable providers – such as Comcast, Spectrum and Xander; focusing digital efforts on viewers whose interest had been flagged via smart-TV data; amplifying all of that via social media; and, finally, targeting streaming and digital viewers to ensure a holistic viewing experience.
Although the campaign concluded in September, the team is already planning for the splashy return of WWE and all its stars to A&E in 2023.
Said WWE’s Kaiser: “We look forward to further collaboration with the talented people at the network.”
Tags: a&e network a+e networks partner content wwe