[Splash wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but there were something interesting about the social media presence of the programme - and not just the scathing comments... Our researcher Amy Jones has some thoughts...]
Last week was the finale of Splash, the US version of the UK TV show Splash!. If you don’t remember, Splash! is the ITV diving show with Tom Daley that was incredibly popular early this year and is returning for a second series in January 2014. This may have come as a bit of a surprise to the plethora of reviewers who tore it to shreds, mostly using jokes containing the phrase “belly-flop” (good work, guys), but considering it had an average of 5.42 million viewers per episode it’s clearly been doing something right.
In case you didn’t catch it, Splash! is Strictly Come Dancing with diving rather than dancing. Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay present, celebrities dive, professional divers (and, er, Jo Brand) judge, the audience vote, eventually Eddie the Eagle was declared the winner.
It might not be highbrow, but it was definitely entertaining. Daft and undemanding, Splash! is family friendly and Tom Daley is charming and inspiring. Some of the Seven League team dove when they were younger so they know how difficult it is, and a prime-time TV show that might potentially inspire more people to take up the sport can only be a good thing.
There have been a few improvements suggested for the second series. Many are suggesting that the celebrities should dive several times each, just like they do in the Olympics, in order to fill the 90-minute episodes. Personally, I’d like to see Splash! work on having a great social media presence.
Although “#splash” was being used on Twitter there was no prompt from the show itself to use this hashtag. This visualisation of tweets during the first episode below shows that there was no shortage of Twitter activity, but Splash! did nothing to encourage, steer or join the conversation.
There’s no Splash! Facebook page, no official Twitter account, no Instagram. Tom has a fantastic social media presence and was merrily tweeting backstage Splash! info, holding Q&As on Twitter, Instagram-ing photos and uploading blooper reels and ‘best dives’ to his YouTube channel, it’s not the same as having something official and tangible with the Splash! brand.
Or maybe that was their strategy – Tom is social media gold so they could rely on him to cover the social media side of Splash!. But if that’s the case why not get Gabby, who has over 250,000 followers, and Vernon, who has over a million, involved too?
It’s not hard to promote a hashtag or upload a few photos to a Facebook page. Fingers crossed that when Splash! comes back it’ll put as much thought into the social media as it does the show. I’ll leave you with this video — an example of just how powerful a tiny prompt to talk about something on social media can be.
Movie marketing in the online world might seem a bit of a tangent for a company that specialises in sport, but we’re interested in what’s good in digital media – whatever the sector. We have some background in film as I worked at the BFI for 18 months, but this post comes from researcher Amy Jones who spotted The Grumblr and couldn’t let it go without digging further. RA. >>
Movie promotion has changed in recent years, to the point where promotional posters are having to be adapted to make sure that they’ve viewable on a mobile device. Increased use of the internet, especially on mobile devices, means that there are a thousand new ways to reach a potential audience, and some movie marketers are exploiting this to their full advantage.
Some, like the people behind 126.96.36.199 and Star Trek Into Darkness are using social media to create buzz around their film. Others are using the internet to target specific groups of people online — such as in the run up to the release of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo when fans of the novels were hit with targeted ads and a specific campaign that tapped into their love for the books. Others, however, aren’t being quite so obvious. They’re taking digital marketing and having a little fun with it, creating some very cool things in the process.
The Grumblr is a Tumblr supposedly written by a Monsters University student. It includes memes, heavily filtered square photos of campus life, chats about essays, GIFs, hashtags, all the things you’d usually find on the social media of a 17-25 year old. Except it’s all to do with monsters.
It’s brilliant, showing the tone and a few snippets from the movie without being blatantly promotional. Plus it links to the website for Monsters University, which is so similar a real academic website it’s almost painful. Apart from the bit where they sell four-armed hoodies in the store, obviously.
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were the final two films in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Batman has such a huge existing fanbase that marketers could have gotten away with the old posters-and-interviews technique. Instead they took the huge, rich world of Batman and made something quite brilliant with it.
Let’s start in reverse. When the website for The Dark Knight Rises was launched, it was just a black webpage with a recording of men chanting underneath it. However, when the chanting was analysed with a spectrograph a hidden message was revealed — #thefirerises. If you tweeted that hashtag then you’d get a reply from @TheFireRises, who’d link you to another webpage where you could put in your Twitter account and your profile pic would be added to a larger mosaic that formed the first clear photo of Bane.
Even though the photo was unveiled by clever-clogs Batman fans way before the mosaic was completed, it was a cool idea — and it was followed up with a huge website that let fans peek into the Batman world.
But it was nothing compared to the campaign for The Dark Knight. I left it ’til last because it’s quite astonishing, involving treasure hunts that blend the online and offline worlds, over 31 websites, mobile phones with exclusive content hidden in the middle of cakes, an online newspaper, …it’s no surprise that it had over 10 million unique participants in 75 countries. It was a huge, mind-blowing campaign, but this video explains it all very neatly.
There are so many other sterling examples I could talk about, such as Super 8‘s online treasure hunt and the Monsters Foursquare campaign that I wish someone would look at and expand upon, but the point is clear. There are a hundred different platforms to reach audiences on nowadays, and thousands of different ways of using them. You can use digital to create a world that will extend the film experience beyond the two hours someone sits in a cinema, and create some really nifty things whilst doing so.
We’re delighted to announce that we have begun a unique collaboration with top sports lawyers, Couchmans LLP.
Over the next few years we think there are going to be fascinating, challenging and complex developments in sport around the use of social media – whether at fan, player, club or governing body level. This collaboration will enable us to enhance our offering to Seven League clients by pooling our commercial, strategic and operational skills with Couchmans’ undoubted legal expertise.
There will be projects where it makes sense for the client that we work closely together, and others where we simply advise where necessary. The beauty of this relationship is that, in an ever evolving world of digital media choices where legalities are developing equally rapidly, this kind of collaborative approach makes a lot of sense.
Couchmans LLP: Nick White
Seven League: Richard Ayers @richardayers or info[@]sevenleague.co.uk