Commentary

Riding The Autumn Wave Of Popular Culture

Entertainment marketing is busy year-round, but as summer ends and new routines take shape for fall and winter, entertainment marketers have extra timely resources to pull from. 

With the Emmys, football season, new TV show debuts, and the return of can't-miss favorites like The Walking Dead, this is the ideal time of year to leverage entertainment topics to catch consumers' attention and engage them authentically.

Here are some tips for riding the autumn wave: 

Mark your calendar

Everyone says “fall TV” like every show goes up on the same day, or even the same week, but it’s much more complicated than that. The biggest show premieres are sprinkled throughout the next two months. Being on top of what's coming back when, and being your audience’s reminder that Survivor, for example, returns on Wednesday, Sept. 21, is the best way to make friends with the TV crowd.

The major networks have already released their schedules and it’s safe to assume die-hard fans are aware, so join them in their excitement. Poll fans about plot twists and expectations and get the conversation going. How is that relevant to you? It isn’t, but you can make it relevant by adding a brand-based twist. For example:

Walking Dead fans – who do you think died? Share your guess, along with [your shirt size/favorite color/product preference] and we’ll be choosing three correct answers to win that item!

Play some games

For favorite shows, if your brand is pretty niche, encouraging themed watch parties, with a contest for sharing pics of the best party favors or costumes, is another way to let everyone geek out with your brand. Promote a hashtag to use while watching to make it easy for fans to find each other — and you.

Award shows are always big nights for social media and can apply to many businesses in some way, as people active on social media gather around the Twitter hearth to dish. Take advantage of live events like the Emmys by encouraging predictions with incentives and prizes. Emmy bingo, with some snarky red carpet tropes if your brand allows, could be a blast. 

These types of campaigns are simple to set up and share with your core audience on social media, and they’re budget friendly. And prizes can be anything from a Twitter shout-out, to a token piece of merchandise, or discount coupon. 

Work on the weekends

Football is many people's weekend activity (and Monday, Thursday…) so don't clock out yet. This is a good time to engage with fans and have them check in with you. Have them show off how they’re celebrating game day, or send in themed Instagram Stories or Snapchats. 

Talk up the biggest match-ups each week, and always make sure you’re rooting for both teams. Much like the Emmys or any televised "event," contests and giveaways — where fans can predict or “bet” and walk away with a tangible prize — are win-wins for everyone. 

Monitor what’s new – wherever it's showing

You never know what new shows will have everyone talking, and that doesn't just apply to new major network debuts. Be sure you're aware of what's happening on all-season streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, too, or your target audience may think you're out of touch.

Even with new episodes on the major networks and cable, viewers are still drawn to anything binge-worthy on digital channels, whether old or new. Staying on top of social sentiment to see what’s trending is important to organically and authentically joining in the social conversation.
Case in point, over the summer, Netflix's Stranger Things had viewers captivated. So did HBO's The Night Of – especially when the hit drama and the MTV Awards had an incidental “Duane Reade” crossover, lighting up Twitter with inside jokes. That's exactly the kind of thing you want to know about and jump on as it's happening. 

Piggybacking in a relevant way with a theme that’s taken hold in popular culture cannot be undervalued.

What people choose to obsess over can surprise you, so keep your mind, and social listening platform, open. The viewers will tell you what's hitting and missing without any prompting. Then you'll know exactly what to talk to them about.

In many parts of the country it’s getting colder outside for sure, but that doesn’t mean everyone is in hibernation mode — not yet, anyway. Fall is a super busy season for consumers, but after the homework and hayrides, they're likely to curl up with nice pumpkin-flavored lattes and unwind with something entertaining. Meet them where they are, and they'll snuggle up with you for the long, cold winter.

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