Date: September 20, 2011
Key to Success: Whet fans’ appetites
Some people have an infectious, charming personality you can’t help but love, and for the series premiere of New Girl, Fox was banking on actress, singer and all-around beloved indie goddess Zooey Deschanel being one of them. Through series sneak peeks and early downloads, Fox hoped viewers would learn to love Deschanel’s character Jess, the “simply adorkable” but lovable lead the series revolves around.
New Girl was one of the first broadcast series to get a free sneak peek of the entire pilot about two weeks early on iTunes, Hulu, Fox.com and Deschanel’s site, Hello Giggles, in order to generate buzz ahead of the premiere. iTunes was also used as a tool to position New Girl marketing where Glee fans were already downloading content, with Fox hoping to package the Tuesday night, building it thematically and visually around the three shows: Glee, New Girl and Raising Hope. The key art for the three shows even had compatible colors and schemes.
“We knew if people just gave it a chance, not only would they want more, but they would get more word of mouth,” said Joe Earley, president of marketing and communications at Fox Broadcasting Company. “We thought, ‘Okay, the first shot of heroine is free, then hopefully they’ll come back for more.’”
If anything, Earley said the online offerings were a little more successful than he had originally hoped for, raising the question of whether or not viewers who had already streamed the episode would bother tuning in for the premiere. “There’s obviously a risk in previous streaming, which is you feed the appetite, and then they’re done,” Earley said. “We knew we would whet the appetite. And it worked.”
But whether it was Deschanel’s bubbly persona, the Glee lead-in or the “simply adorkable” marketing campaign, New Girl did not disappoint, becoming that Tuesday’s highest-rated show and proving that when you have such an infectious personality (and a lead character who could write her own theme song), Fox could do nothing but stream it to the world.