“If that’s true, if you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.” For all of those, who like me, were immensely addicted to the TV drama series Breaking Bad, you know this quote very well from season 5 episode 9 and all the #TreadLightly tweets which followed immediately after that episode. The show, which stars Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman and Bryan Cranston as Walter White, Breaking Bad’s ever-changing plot and dramatic cliff-hangers kept fans on the edge of their seats with each new episode. According to Entertainment Weekly, Breaking Bad gained significant momentum as the show continued and progressed through its five seasons. This happened particularly between its fourth season episode finale with 1.9 million viewers, to a colossal jump of 10.3 million viewers during the fifth season’s grand series finale. Despite the obvious amount of success the show had, Breaking Bad didn’t stop marketing to its fans. An influential Facebook app marketing strategy had its fans dipping into the virtual world of Breaking Bad to cook up something of their own.
With the help of Ralph, a creative agency who spearheaded the social media presence of Breaking Bad, the show had consistent viewership on the different social media platforms. To promote the second half of season five, Ralph was asked to create a new social media campaign to stir up conversation about the show. A platform via Facebook seemed like a great idea to help promote the show. According to TheDrum.com, 11 million people were already talking about Breaking Bad on Facebook, so why not spark up the conversation with an innovative app? Ralph created the Breaking Bad Facebook app which allowed fans to create a cover photo or profile photo with their name which was then inserted with different Periodic Table chemical elements to look similarly to that of the original Breaking Bad logo. Each photo also contains #AllBadThingsMustComeToAnEnd in reference to the grand season finale of Breaking Bad. Check out my name, pictured above, with the Breaking Bad logo design! Not only did fans have the option to use this as their new Facebook profile photo, but they could also share it to Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr; therefore spreading the excitement of Breaking Bad’s app via other social media platforms. The results were successful: there were approximately 4.1 million interactions by almost 800,000 people. It reflected “not only the increased exposure of the show but the type of audience that are viewing it,” according to TheDrum.com. The social media hype about Breaking Bad continued during the grand finale of the show which produced 1.2 million tweets, according to Entertainment Weekly and generated 5.5 million Facebook updates and comments, according to Mashable. The Facebook app was a hit.
Let’s talk about why it worked:
1. Promoting even when at the top: Whether you are a Breaking Bad addict, or have only heard the name through friends and family, the name Breaking Bad is well known. The show won several Golden Globe Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards, and despite its enormous success, Breaking Bad never stopped marketing.
2. Going to the fans: Instead of trying to create fans, Breaking Bad recognized where its fan base already existed and advertised directly to them. By creating a campaign and placing it directly where fans already existed ensured two things: first, that the fans would see the campaign, and second, that it would be talked about…which is exactly what happened.
3. Encouraging fans to participate: Allowing fans to get involved with the campaign creates an excitement that fans will likely share with all of their friends. As fans created their own name with characters of the elements chart inserted, many showed off their new profile picture on other social media platforms. By enlisting fans into the Breaking Bad Facebook app campaign, it generated an increased fan base and conversation about the show, which was Ralph and Breaking Bad’s end goal.
Breaking Bad is still talked about as an amazing television show; it won Best Television Drama after all! Because of its ability to break the norm of TV rules, and to creatively market via social media platforms, Breaking Bad cooked up a winning campaign. Make sure to check back in next week to learn about some spectacular, innovative marketing strategies from Doritos as it allow fans to produce its Super Bowl ads, and what we can learn from it.