FX's 'American Horror Story' stokes season 7 hype via creepy Messenger bot
- FX's "American Horror Story" rolled out an interactive multichannel campaign ahead of its season seven premiere on Sept. 5, according to a press release made available to Marketing Dive. The campaign helped to reel in a large audience and make the premiere the second most-watched piece of cable programming this year behind AMC's "The Walking Dead."
- A teaser video, which debuted at San Diego Comic-Con in July, led users to a microsite of content related to the show. Users who logged into the site via Facebook were then served "creepy clues" from a Messenger chatbot about the release of more than 50 pieces of content over six weeks. The clues also led fans to out-of-home activations around cities where they could unlock additional hints about the new season.
- The campaign was a collaboration between the production shop IKA Collective, interactive firm WIREWAX and the creative agency Spark & Sizzle. FX Creative, FX Production and Director of Photography Paul Tolton helped craft the eerie and clown-centric visuals.
The campaign around "American Horror Story: Cult" shows how marketers can provide loyal pop culture fans another way to engage with their favorite properties through chatbots, microsites, puzzles and exclusive content — all with mobile top-of-mind. FX and its creative partners took a novel approach by gamifying the six-week promotion via Messenger clues and OOH activations that tied together its on- and offline channels.
Using a distinctly creepy Messenger bot — "It's time we free them. Will you help?," read one message — helped fit into the tone of the TV show. It's not the only recent push to up the spooky factor and leverage the flexibility of digital marketing to connect with audiences in fresh ways. Svedka Vodka last week rolled out a Halloween-themed campaign that "cursed" viewers with banner ads that would "haunt and taunt" them wherever they went online until they visited a microsite.
As TV faces a growing trend toward cord-cutting and increased competition from both over-the-top streaming services and social media companies, more networks and advertisers are adopting similar strategies as a way to stand out and reel in audiences for live viewing, using mobile as the connective tissue.
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