what #SharkWeek can teach us about marketing
On July 17, 1988, television as we know it changed forever...
Shark Week aired its first episode, and it continues to live on year after year.
Whether in a few short seconds or an entire show, from the Great White to Megalodon, every species is laid out for the viewer to behold during the week-long series.
I'm intrigued, actually, at how much attention this week-long television spot actually receives. It's not like other channels have the same luck with their attempts at creating the same kind of experience. Shark Week is the only of its kind, and whether you've watched it before, or you've never cared, you know about Discovery's Shark Week.
What other annual tv series is there that lasts a mere 7 days and receives so much attention? From the social interaction, to the parties thrown (yes, parties), Shark Week has become one successfully recurring marketing campaign.
So what can we (that's you and me, folks) learn from Shark Week?
Start with the Discovery Channel recognizing right off the bat that what they had going was a good thing. They took that insight and ran with it. They capitalized on something that has continually brought old and new viewers year after year. They saw the popularity of the series, and have sought to improve and evolve it over and over again. With integrated social experiences and one unmistakeable hashtag, #SharkWeek is pretty legit in terms of marketing tactics.
One of their biggest pulls, in my opinion, is emotion. Oh, yeah. Those that love the creatures... you watch. Those that hate the creatures... you also watch. You can't get away from it no matter what side of the ocean you're on (terrible pun, I know). They do an incredible job of luring you in. Granted, the subject is pretty alluring in and of itself; however, a great subject doesn't make for great marketing. A launch strategy does. Ideation, design, interaction, improvement - all in combination - make for a great marketing strategy. You can't have one without the other. #SharkWeek is a prime example of how to leverage all faucets for an overall amazing campaign that will get the best results possible, time and time again, over multiple years - decades even.
What Discovery's Shark Week teaches us is how to adapt and grow with our audience. How to look ahead and anticipate the future of our campaigns and our company as a whole. How to take one concept and make it better every single time it launches. To add more, take away the unnecessary, look to past and present successes and failures.
Even though my business has absolutely nothing (nope) to do with Sharks, I want to create something as successful as Shark Week (obviously completely different and for different reasons, but you get the concept). I want that big idea, that great campaign, that kind of success. You may think I'm grasping here, but seriously, Shark Week has it going on to have lasted so long and to have been so successful, especially for an annual television series.
So what's your "Shark Week"?
What's my "Shark Week"?
I'm definitely on my way to figuring it out.
#SharkWeek 2015 is coming, are you ready?