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TNT's social TV strategy for 'Dallas' pays off with stellar ratings

We originally wrote about TNT’s social TV strategy for Dallas when we interviewed Facebook’s Kay Madati. The network had readied their Facebook timeline of content to use the history of the show to help spark conversations, likes and interactions leading up to the June 13th premiere. They also worked with SocialChorus to premiere the show to 75 social influencers. Dallas has finally premiered on TV, and the investment in social is paying off with linear results.

Dallas premiered with 6.9 million viewers ranking “as the #1 scripted series premiere on all of cable for the year-to-date,” according to TVbyTheNumbers.

Social TV ratings showed results as well. According to SocialGuide Intelligence, Dallas on June 13th was the second most social series behind “MTV’s Randy Jackson Presents: America Dance Crew,” and @Dallas_TNT was also the number one series program account (above). The show also had the top two hashtags, #Dallas and #DallasTNT:

We spoke with Fergus Thomas, Turner Broadcasting’s Director of Marketing about their social TV strategy.

Lost Remote: What was the social TV strategy for the launch of Dallas?

Fergus Thomas: Marketing strategy with Dallas was “Social by Design” from the start meaning that we consciously designed the campaign to think about the social interactions we wanted happening from start. Our ultimate goal is to generate brand endorsements at scale meaning having as many people talk about, reminisce about the old, hypothesize about the new as possible throughout the social graph. We knew two things going in: Dallas was one of THE water cooler shows of it’s time. There was/is a huge emotional connection people have with the Ewings which centered around the ritual of watching the show on Fridays. Many people fondly remember watching in the 80s/90s with their moms or even grandmothers. The other thing we know is the water cooler of today is happening online, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. This is where people are finding their information and deciding what brands/shows enter their consideration set based on what their friends are talking about. We wanted to tap into both those things.

LR: How did you decide to make JR the voice of your Facebook Timeline?

Thomas: JR was the natural choice for the voice of the Facebook timeline. He’s the villain everybody loves to hate and timeline would serve as an inside view of all his schemes, backstabs, and his version of what’s happened over the last 30 yrs.

LR: What did you do to lead up to the June launch?

Thomas: We brought all the Ewings old and new to life in social media. All the characters are alive and well and interacting with each other, fans, and other celebs on Twitter. The backstabbing, lies, and rivalries have already started before the show airs. The creative direction was that while the show has been off the air for last 20 years, the Ewings have continued about their normal routines…they’re now just on twitter and come June 13th the tv cameras will just be turned on again so the rest of the world can see what they’ve been up to.

LR: What social TV efforts will you execute now that the show was begun?

Thomas: We’ve kicked off the main campaign for the season already called “Rise to Power” – its a social “Fantasy Football” for soap fans where fans can pick sides amongst the Ewings and declare their allegiance. An individual accumulates points for helping spread that characters propoganda through the web and every week your score gets impacted by the results of that week’s episode. If JR pulled a huge double cross that week and you’re aligned with him you’d get bonus points. If your character got burned that week you don’t.

LR: What partners are you working with?

Thomas: Lot’s of partners: we’re partnering closely with Facebook and we’re a beta partner for Timeline. Also Twitter, GetGlue, Youtube, and a host of others.

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