In today’s increasingly fragmented media world, dozens of TV shows are trying to convince the public to tune in at a certain time everyday. Almost every TV show has a Facebook page and a Twitter account to engage with their audience as well as market their show and characters. Therefore, TV execs need to get more creative with their marketing efforts, especially when it comes to marketing to millennials. Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are multitasking pros, live through social media and are very tech-savvy. They have high demands of brands and TV shows and producers need to work smarter to keep them hooked and entertained.

Two new platforms, which are heavily used by millennials, have recently caught my attention as ways to promote TV shows in unique and exciting ways: Snapchat and Tinder.

Photo-sharing application Snapchat is a great way to directly engage with your audience where they are – on their phones. US business and technology news website Business Insider estimated that Snapchat has reached 82 million monthly active users globally as of May 2014 and that 700 million photos and videos are sent per day. There is no question that Snapchat should not be ignored for your marketing campaigns. But how can TV use it?

The week of July 18, British teenage soap opera Hollyoaks revealed the resolution to a big murder mystery via their official Snapchat account HelloHollyoaks. The 100,000+ followers of the account, myself included, saw some brief snapshots of the flashback scene, which had been filmed showing Freddie shooting Fraser.

If you are familiar with Snapchat, you know that after a couple of seconds the snaps are deleted from the devices and are no longer available. As a result, the photo sharing application is not only an interesting way to post spoilers, which can’t be spread, but it also makes the content appear more valuable: if you blink, you miss it.

Other examples are NBC’s The Voice announcing Chris Martin’s involvement as a coach through Snapchat and HBO’s Girls using Snapchat to keep their fans updated.

It also provides a unique way to reveal new contestants. TLC, for example, introduced the new faces of Next Great Baker with behind-the-scenes selfies.

If your audience is mainly female and under 25, you should definitely consider using Snapchat to promote your show. However, if your audience is mainly male and under 25, Tinder might be the right tool for you.

Both Fox’ sitcom The Mindy Project as well as USA Network’s Suits set up profiles for their characters on Tinder. They used Tinder, the dating app that scouts potential dates based on your location, not to find dates but as a clever way to deliver content in a more intimate one-on-one way. If users swipe right, they become a match with the character and receive a private message containing promotional material and bonus content. Tinder sees 750 million swipes – essentially profile views of potentially compatible users nearby – on a daily basis.

In order to promote The Walking Dead Series 4, TVNZ teamed also up with Tinder. Their Dating the Dead campaign targeted over 500 guys with hot girls who, over the course of the interaction between the guys and the girls, eventually transformed into zombies. The women’s last words informed the users on the show’s broadcast.

It’s easy to see niche communication platforms as not playing a part in marketing a TV show. We generally consider that only platforms that can be shared, those that are more persistent and have a broad reach are good for marketing. But the examples above show how directly targeting users, even in a one-to-one way through a dating service, can deliver results.  For a generation that is tiring of Facebook and Twitter and increasingly using different and more diverse networks to communicate and connect, thinking differently has to become the norm.

I’m looking forward to seeing more campaigns using Snapchat and Tinder and wonder who will be the first to utilise Secret as part of their reach?


Sandra Lehner is commercial manager at The Project Factory, a digital production company that creates transmedia entertainment across web, mobile, social media and games platforms.

Top photo © Thinkstock – LDProd

About Author

Sandra Lehner is a TV Futurist and the MD of Suncatcher Social, based in Lisbon. She is a frequent contributor to MIPBlog, and speaks regularly at MIPCOM. Newsletter: Website: LinkedIn:

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