In a banner day in the history of soap opera, with the bonafide smash hits of the premiere episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live in their brand new online and digital homes, The Hollywood Reporter put out a spectacular piece today which takes a look at just how Prospect Park and The Online Network’s unique approach to the marketing of the two soap operas, who have now literally come back-from-the-dead, were promoted at every level to entice long time viewers, grab a new generation of viewers, and spice up the long-suffering and often struggling marketing/promotional landscape of the soap opera daytime format.
Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz enlightened THR on some of the key strategies to the return of AMC and OLTL with social media being a big part of the overall concept: “Our plan was to go viral. We’ve done that by constantly putting up good content, whether its stories about what’s going on or lots of pictures from the set. We have created a number of special pieces just for social media.”
The All My Children Facebook page went up February 6 and now has almost 8 million users a week. All My Children and OLTL have about half a million “likes” each on Facebook. The cast has also made numerous visits to Google Hangouts, answering questions from fans and sharing stories. They have also created original videos meant to be comedic such as “Goats Screaming Like Humans For The Return of One Life To Live” and “Suzy F****n Homemaker: How To Use Hulu Tutorial.”
“I believe we’re the first premium television launching online in an ad-supported way,” says Kwatinetz. “HBO, Showtime and Netflix have done it but we believe we’re the first mainstream content that is advertiser based and online to do this. “The shows are innovative conceptually and overall, and a lot of our advertising is innovative as well. Until now no one has really done what were doing.”
Prospect Park also took the traditional route hitting marketing at every angle from: “purchase of print ads in Parade, TV Guide, US Weekly, Soap Opera Digest and Soaps In Depth. There has also been a national campaign of radio advertising along with on-air promotions and contests on pop stations like Z100 in New York City with prizes including a walk-on role in one of the soap operas, set visits, and trips to New York for a screening of the soaps by I Heart Radio and a red carpet premiere on the NYU campus held earlier this week
They have also bought time on cable TV and digital channels. In addition, they have generated publicity by sending stars from the soaps (many of whom were on the ABC version) to appear on Entertainment Tonight, Wendy Williams, Access Hollywood and elsewhere. The marketing plan has also seen ad time bought on TV networks, although there was resistance from the major networks who air daytime soap operas!”
Stunt casting is also another angle The Online Network is taking where you will see JWOWW, Riff Raff, and other names familiar to the “reality” or music genre who will make appearances on the two soaps.
Kwatinetz related this message: “We are marketing to the television watching audience many of which already watch online as well. Many don’t however. So we are doing TV and radio ads and billboards and not just relying on social media and online networks because we’re trying to reach the television viewer overall. I think that is innovative.”
So AMC, OLTL, and long time soap fans, would you agree that that Prospect Park and The Online Network’s marketing strategies have paid off? Do you like the way they are attacking this key component of business for awareness and to drive viewership to Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes and eyeballs to Pine Valley and Llanview? Let us know your thoughts!