When New Zealand’s number one soap opera, Shortland Street, ended its 2010 season, thousands of fans were left without their daily fix. How could we keep them hooked until the show returned a month later?
AIM Proximity decided to try something no other soap opera had done before – we invited fans to start an online relationship with their favourite character.
Our TV campaign directed fans to the Summer Fling facebook app where they could hook up with a character and set up their friends too. The application went live immediately after Shortland Street’s dramatic season finale. Fans of the show are invited to ‘hook up’ with Hunter, TK, Daniel, Sophie or Nicole, and will then receive fun and flirtatious Facebook messages throughout the show’s hiatus, allowing them to engage with their fling all summer long.
“As New Zealand’s leading contemporary media company, TVNZ is committed to bringing New Zealanders content in new and innovative ways,” says General Manager of Marketing, Annmarie Duff. “While Kiwis are on their summer holidays, this application is a really fun way for fans to keep in touch with the characters they love.”
TV2 Marketing Manager, Aimee Glucina, says the site was intended to enhance viewers’ experience of their favourite local drama. “Shortland Street fans invite the residents of Ferndale into their living rooms five nights a week,” Glucina says. “We thought this would be a playful way to allow viewers to engage with these much-loved characters while the show’s off air.
“It’s not meant to be taken too seriously,” continues Glucina. “It’s a light-hearted way to ease into that New Zealand summer feeling by having a bit of fun with one of the country’s best-loved shows.”
Thousands of facebook fans joined up and they really got into it – replying to messages and posting them on their Walls for everyone to see.
Hundreds of fans replied directly to the emails from their character, as though they were real people. Some fans even created their own photo and video responses.
- 200% increase in fan interaction on the Shortland Street facebook page
- 271% increase in traffic to the page
- 31% growth in daily ‘Likes’ on the page
- 50% of 18-39 year olds tuned in to watch the first episode of 2011
- Throng.co.nz – Fancy a Summer Fling with Shortland Street?
- Ads of the World – Shortland Street: Summer Fling
- MSN – Have a Shortland Street summer fling
- Cleo – Keep your summer romance alive
- ZM Online – Have a Shortland Street Summer Fling!
- Screenhub.com.au – Shortland Street takes a leaf from the Shane Warne playbook
- Tribe Heaven blog (UK) – Shortland Street: Summer Fling fun!
- Expression blog (US) – How can a TV series keep the storytelling alive between seasons?