If you’re a fan of TV, you are probably just as excited as me that we are in fall premiere season with our favorite shows coming back with new episodes. I have many shows that I’m personally excited about coming back, but the one that takes the cake is the reboot of one of my all-time favorite shows, Will & Grace.
How Viral Video Caused a Comeback
If you’re not familiar with the show, it originally aired in the mid-1990s, and is about a gay man and his best girlfriend living together in New York with their crazy, but loveable sidekicks, Jack and Karen. The series finale aired in 2006, and for most of us fans, it was an emotional, but tastefully done send-off for the show.
All of us, including the cast and the show’s creators thought that was it, until they reunited in the summer of 2016 to film a 10-minute clip to encourage people to vote for the 2016 election, but as a mini-episode of the show. The show’s creators uploaded it hours before one of the final debates and it immediately went viral. To this day, the video has more than 7 million views! If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here.
What does this have to do with your business’ marketing? Read on to learn how to simplify your strategy from the hit show, Will & Grace!
Why the Reboot is Set for Success
Television series reboots rarely work and even fewer TV shows get past the approval stage for a reboot. There are various contributing factors for that, including using a cast that doesn’t include original members, wrong timing and changing the format. Now that we’re in the premiere week of the show’s triumphant return from an 11-year hiatus, was it a good decision? Can the show find success following the marketing success of their online election video? Many believe it can and will; myself included.
In marketing, the overall goal is to reach as many consumers as possible to promote a product or service. When a video goes viral, it has been seen by thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of viewers. Will & Grace was one of the most successful comedies of its time as part of NBC’s must-see TV line-up. The marketing strategy that led to the reboot was quite simple: upload the election video and let their original fans find it and spread it like wildfire- and it did! There are a couple reasons the clip was so successful.
As Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, explained in this LA Times article, viewers like TV shows that are familiar and make them feel good. Will & Grace definitely fits the bill. The timing of the clip’s release was perfect, as our country entered a tense political environment prior to the 2016 election. Now, post-election, consumers are seeking a much-needed distraction from our country’s political climate and are looking for good old-fashioned humor.
In addition to the right timing and using the original cast, the video clip that was exclusively released on YouTube had strategic audience targeting. As Alan Meyer explains in his blog post, Viral Video Marketing: What’s, Why’s & How’s of Going Viral, the video was initially targeted to a smaller audience who was, “More likely to share the video with other similar minded people.”
Video Marketing: Simple, but Effective
Simplifying your marketing strategy, whether you’re creating a new one or revising an existing one to switch things up, allows you to focus your efforts on one or two methods at a time. You don’t need to have a hit TV show in order for video marketing to work for you, but the success of the Will & Grace election video shows how powerful it can be.