The streets of West Hollywood will be quieter than normal tonight as Season 8 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race premieres on Logo TV at 9/8C. If you aren’t yet initiated, Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a competition where multiple drag queens face off against one another with a dizzying…
The streets of West Hollywood will be quieter than normal tonight as Season 8 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race premieres on Logo TV at 9/8C. If you aren’t yet initiated, Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a competition where multiple drag queens face off against one another with a dizzying array of challenges each week for a title and some hefty prizes to boot. Beyond the TV show is a vibrant ecosystem that not only supports the show but keeps it bubbling along when the show is being shot.
The show (or probably more correctly the brand) has a tight, visually led social strategy that boasts a busy Facebook FB -2.44% page (1.5m likes), 411k Twitter TWTR -0.98% followers, 637k Instagram followers, 88k YouTube subscribers and around 60K Vine followers. On their own these statistics are impressive. However, compare them with last year and the average growth of the platforms is 78% with some seeing triple digit growth.
Ru Paul believes the success of the show has a lot to do with the digital strategy that surrounds it; “[Our] digital content is the best way for our millions of loyal and twisted fans – gay and straight – to get their daily drag fix. Not to mention that drag queens are the perfect digital stars – super visual, hilarious, and fearless. RuPaul’s Drag Race is like the Super Bowl for gay people. But there’s no ESPN for drag.”
So what’s the secret sauce? How can brands get in on the action?
- Enable sub-content and fail fast. The show does put out multiple teasers, short clips and full episodes but the real smart content comes in the form of the sub-brands it has created from catchphrases (Squirrel Friends), Recap style fashion commentary (Fashion Photo Ruview), one-on-one interviews (Bro-laska/RuPaul Drives), single-star shows (Alyssa’s Secret) and Make-up tutorials (Transformations). These shows are constantly being created and tested to see what works and what isn’t worth investing more time and money into. There have been +21million views of show content on Facebook alone.
- Focus on championing creation versus the sharing of pre-made content. Some people are lazy, some people like to create but all can appreciate a funny GIF. The fact is you don’t have to make it but you can enable it. Ru Paul and Logo went one step further and created a mobile keyboard that enables users to send special emoji, hashtags and animated GIFs faster than using regular apps. This is also a smart long-term strategy for a data and audience play for other shows To date the keyboard has been launched over 7M times with 1.9M custom emojis.
- Mobile goes way beyond simple second-screening. The show has confessed that on-screen hashtag suggestions only go so far despite often nationally trending. Instead, they tend to push competition between groups that form around the show (and example is #TeamBianca or #TeamAdore if contestants have an argument). Beyond hashtags there is a raft of additional content plays including; a mobile game that can also be used to push notifications should the show choose to, Dubsmash (+30k followers in a week), Snapchat content (not Discovery).
- Don’t underestimate what fans will do. Often, as Marketers, we are told that the path to least resistance is the best one and that you should never make people work for it. The social team aren’t avid followers of these mantras. From social scavenger hunts to code-breaking for simple tease content, the team understand the power of the fans hunger and play to it with multiple mechanics – they key, not just one but several platforms at the same time.
The future of the show looks pretty certain based on the buzz, Google GOOGL -2.41% Trends and a secure base that is hungry for more content. Beyond this, the show has set itself up on a number of platforms that travel with the user and doesn’t leave users needing to hunt down content or be retargeted. While not all brands have a national TV show to pull from, a lot of brands do have assets that are underutilised or simply are not utilised in the ways described above.
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