Network: Showtime

Date: May 22, 2011

Viewers: 1.12

Key to Success: Intrigue with multiplatform

To market the show about the family who influenced Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Showtime capitalized on the popularity of Puzo’s classic story of crime and betrayal with the tagline “The Original Crime Family.”

“Americans have such a fascination with mafia and crime stories that we saw an opportunity to really anchor the campaign with ‘The Original Crime Family’ tagline,” said Sharon Allen, VP of program marketing and advertising at Showtime Networks.

To create more interest and engagement, Showtime partnered with foursquare and Barnes & Noble to create “The Borgias”-themed section where fans could earn foursquare badges, a Macy’s partnership teamed up with celebrity chefs to create recipes for a Borgias Italian feast, Lonely Planet created a customized downloadable guide to the Italy that the Borgias lived in and Zagat created an online guide to Italian restaurants. Showtime also amped up its online presence with behind-the-scenes videos, online games and podcasts.

“I think it’s a well-integrated, multiplatform campaign that resonated with the viewers to create interest in this incredibly dramatic premium show,” said Allen.

The series premiere of Showtime’s The Borgias ended up giving the network its best drama series premiere in seven years, even beating out the premiere numbers of The Tudors in 2007.


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