Going viral: Using social media to enhance a show’s popularity
Using tie-ins in order to garner attention and attract new fans to television shows is nothing new. ‘The Monkees’ were doing it in the 60s. But using social media to do this is a trend that is growing in popularity.
Television shows like ‘How I Met Your Mother’ have been doing it for years.
First came Barney’s Blog, part of the CBS website, and then came the release of the Bro Code, a book written by Neil Patrick Harris’ character Barney Stinson. But where the show has really flourished is in website development. Whenever a character on the show mentions a website by name, the creative team behind the scenes builds that website.
For instance, there is TedMosbyisaJerk.com, CanadianSexActs.org, GradeMyTeacher.net (an obvious tip of the hat to the real RateMyProfessor.com), and LilyandMarshallSellTheirStuff.com, a website that was used on the show to sell Lily’s clothes but was a real auction of show memorabilia where the proceeds went to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
For a time there was a running countdown clock at SlapCountdown.com. The clock ran down to zero during the episode “Slapsiving’ in which Marshall’s own clock hit zero. There is another countdown clock at TheSlapBetCountdown.com that is scheduled to reach zero May 6, 2013 17:27, which coincides with one of the final episodes of season 8. On the show, Marshall also created ItWastheBestNightEver.com, which featured a video he made about a night spent with Lily, Barney and Robin.
There’s a website for Barney Stinson’s video resume, the trailer for The Wedding Bride, the movie version of Ted being left at the alter, and most recently, PuzzlestheBar.com.
Even ‘True Blood’ has found success with its own tie-in, Jessica’s blog. But while ‘HIMYM’ and ‘True Blood’ have found success with websites and blogs, Fox’s freshman comedy ‘New Girl’ has found popularity another way.
Max Greenfield, who plays the most lovable douche on the planet, Schmidt, has taken it upon himself to create his own tie-ins for the show. He often posts things to his own personal Twitter as Schmidt. But more recently he’s gone viral and created videos featuring his alter ego. Around Christmas came Schmidt’s online dating profile video from 2008. This week, in response to a recent piece by Vulture, Greenfield created a Schmidt workout video – complete with bike shorts and a great soundtrack. You can watch it below.
Max Greenfield (or as I will always call him in my heart, Deputy Leo) is a national treasure. I look forward to seeing more of his Schmidt videos and tweets. And I hope that more of my favorite shows start using social media this way, because when their good, these tie-ins with social media are great at bringing attention and recruiting new fans.