NOW TV and Fever got fans dead excited about season 8 of The Walking Dead on NOW TV by bringing the world of walkers and grime music together for a campaign that delivered 89 pieces of media coverage, 2 million views on social media and an increase in viewing figures. Enlisting help from a mega-fan and Mobo-nominated MC, Bugzy Malone, we used our web-savvy audience’s favourite genre of music to deliver our NOW TV streaming message. Our grime reworking of the Walking Dead’s iconic soundtrack celebrated the show’s most memorable characters and plot lines and drove fans to stream the show on NOW TV.
Raise awareness of the Walking Dead S8 streaming on NOW TV amongst the 18-30-year-old age group who were no longer tuning into the seven-series show
Increase audience engagement on NOW TV’s social media channels and beat reach of previous Walking Dead launch campaigns
We brought grime and Rick Grimes together to create a grime track which bit as much as a hungry zombie. We reworked The Walking Dead’s iconic and ominous theme tune into a banging grime beat and then partnered with a grime artist who truly knew the show to create a hype track that was guaranteed to get fans hyped about the new series of the show.
Our idea - get our target audience pumped up about season eight by creating a grime ‘hype’ track about the show which would drive them to NOW TV as a streaming service and the home of The Walking Dead.
First, we needed to enlist the talent of a culturally relevant artist. We shortlisted grime artists from up and down the UK, but one name stood out – Bugzy Malone. Despite not being the biggest name interested in the project, his love for The Walking Dead - which he talks about frequently on social media - made him an authentic and credible ambassador for NOW TV to help promote the new series, something that was critical to the campaigns success.
For our campaign to properly fly, we decided that we need to do everything as authentically as possible – and that meant NOW TV should act like a record label as well as a content producer. We needed to protect the genuineness of grime across all assets we produced, whilst doing a commercial role of promoting TWD on NOW TV.
So, we did what record label do when creating buzz around a hit record:
- Find a top record producer – to make the track authentic to the grime genre we worked with legendary producers Swifta Beater and Logan Sama to give The Walking Dead’s theme tune a genuine grime sound
- Work with an artist that everyone is talking about – as well as being a true fan of the show, Bugzy’s star was truly on the rise with several MOBO nominations under his belt and a world tour about to kick off. His passion for the show was demonstrated in the original lyrics he penned that played out over Swifta’s remixed beat
- Film an awesome music video – we enlisted one of Bugzy’s recommended video directors to create a music video that was as authentic to grime fans as it was to TWD fans, including a gritty urban setting, lyrical flows and undead walkers roaming around a post-apocalyptic Manchester, spliced with footage from the show. We worked tirelessly with Bugzy to strike the sensitive balance between commercial needs and creative credibility
- Create buzz – we put social first, releasing the video on Bugzy’s social channels ahead of selling in to traditional media. The approach saw the video shared 42 times by media outlets and with over 2 million views in just one week with the majority of these coming from our target audience
- Get your track on the radio – in testament to the authenticity of the track and its likeness to grime tracks before it, within hours of posting the track online we managed to get the track played on Charlie Sloth’s Radio One show. Within 24 hours the track was getting daily plays on Radio 1xtra and Kiss FM. In the week that season eight launched the track was added to Radio 1Xtra’s actual official playlis
Bringing a brand into a sub-culture is notoriously difficult. Once we’d come up with the idea, the real challenge was executing it credibly. Much of the originality of the idea comes from the team understanding and respecting the medium of grime music, and from the brand being prepared to take risks to create something genuinely new.
How do you get a young, digitally engaged audience excited about a show like The Walking Dead that’s been on air for over 7 years?
You need to mix things up, find a new way of getting fans excited about the show and speak to them in a way they’ll understand.
Initial research showed that our 18-30 audience is most active on YouTube (54% visited daily) and Facebook (41% visited the site daily), identifying they were most heavily engaged with video content, so we immediately knew our strategy needed to be video-led to deliver NOW TV’s streaming messaging to our target audience most effectively.
Using online insight tools Sysomos and Tubular, we identified that there was a large crossover between fans of grime music, The Walking Dead and our target audience. Given much of the genre’s success comes from the fact that artists speak to fans directly via social media videos rather than through traditional channels, we spotted an opportunity to bring the worlds of Grime and The Walking Dead together.
A hit record playlisted on multiple national radio stations including BBC Radio 1xtra and Kiss FM and NOW TV’s most successful integrated campaign ever!