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The Best TV Marketing Campaigns of All-Time

Nash McLean
April 27, 2023
Last Updated On
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What do industry leaders like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have in common? They know what it takes to succeed at television-based marketing on social media today. TV marketing campaigns have been a longtime staple for media brands looking to reach a large audience. Yet, in the current busy and overcrowded landscape, crafting impactful TV show marketing strategies demands creativity and strategic planning.

In the Media and Publishing industry this year, Netflix did a brilliant job reviving Wednesday Addams' sadistic personality in a relatable and engaging way, while Hulu's How I Met Your Father outperformed the brands' average engagement rate by 4,050% on Instagram. On the other hand, Amazon Prime Video earned the second-highest Video Views per asset on YouTube. What strategies did these master TV show marketers use to accomplish this?

Social Media Marketing for TV Shows

Social media can be the perfect place to build a marketing strategy for TV shows. It allows brands to connect with their audience in real time, generate buzz around their titles, and even foster conversation on plot twists or spoilers. Many production companies release one episode a week to build buzz and keep social media conversations going regularly, but other companies — such as Netflix — find equal success in releasing all episodes at once and allowing audiences to binge. Here are some TV marketing strategies from industry leaders for media brands that want to leverage social media.

Advantages to TV Marketing on Social Media

TV marketing can be hyper-competitive, and the entertainment industry is notoriously fickle. With streaming services like HBO Max removing shows and Netflix adjusting its subscription model, brands should look to social media to stand out and pique their audience’s interest with an exciting and compelling social campaign. 

Some advantages of marketing your TV show on social media include the following:  

  • Reach new audience: Promoting TV shows online can reach large and new audiences who might not be on streaming platforms and aren't aware of their in-app advertisements. Brands can also tap into paid ads to target niche demographics and encourage free trial sign-ups, subscription sign-ups, and streams.
  • Creativity: Even TV shows are familiar with the high expenses of TV advertising. While great shows can be made on a shoestring budget, the same can't always be said for securing an ad spot or just vying for the best timeslot. Social media TV marketing campaigns have some freedom to A/B test and experiment with creative marketing and social media tactics. 
  • Tap into social entertainment: Social entertainment is the reason users are flocking to social media — and luckily, TV shows are perfect for entertaining, short-form video content. For example, despite being off the air for ten years, The Office is among the four brands with the highest Entertainment Score (a Dash Hudson KPI scored using your engagement and retention rates) due to their funny, playful clips that even non-fans can laugh at. 
  • Fostering community: Having a space on social media gives fans a place to share their thoughts — for brands, this is an excellent opportunity to tap into social listening and learn more about what fans think of plotlines, characters, whether or not they plan to watch next season, and more. 
  •  Direct communication & sales: Being active on social media allows TV shows and media brands to communicate directly with fans and share teaser posts, behind-the-scenes content, and announcements — or even drive traffic to merchandise with a link-in-bio solution like LikeShop.
  • Deeper connection with fans: Showing characters on social media and humanizing them away from the screen allows audiences to build a deeper connection — plus, this can result in some great UGC opportunities from users creating memes and other content about the show.

Disadvantages to TV Marketing on Social Media

Social media marketing for TV shows comes with its own challenges. Traditionally brands have used social media to sell products, while TV shows are looking to render consistent viewership. 

There are some difficulties brands should be aware of: 

1. Difficult to track: Finding the connection between your social followers and show viewers is a struggle in the media and publishing industry. 

2. Shifting attention: The social landscape is fast-paced and highly competitive. TV marketing campaigns on social media may struggle to capture and retain the attention of users amid the sea of other content vying for their attention. Especially when a TV show is between seasons and new content is scarce. 

3. Negative Feedback: Social media provides a platform for users to voice their opinions, which can be both positive and negative. TV marketing campaigns on social media may receive negative feedback or comments, potentially impacting the brand's reputation or creating backlash on the title. 

You can combat these difficulties by being proactive and meaningful in audience engagement. Placing a high priority on understanding your community is paramount to success in social media marketing for TV shows and will empower you to overcome a multitude of challenges.

What Makes a Successful TV Marketing Campaign?  

A successful TV marketing campaign generates significant buzz, drives viewership, and achieves the desired business objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, invoking engagement, customer acquisition and retention. To determine the success of a TV marketing campaign, there are several KPIs that marketers can look at, including:

1. Audience engagement: One of the most critical KPIs for TV marketing campaigns is audience engagement — both in streaming numbers and online engagement rates. This can be measured by tracking metrics such as social media mentions, likes, shares, comments, reach, video views, and impressions. High levels of audience engagement indicate that viewers are very interested in the show and actively engaging with the marketing campaign.

2. Viewership numbers: This metric can be measured through traditional rating systems (such as Nielsen) or streaming data from platforms such as Netflix or Hulu. In recent years, there has been a shift from conventional Nielsen ratings to streaming numbers as more viewers consume content on streaming platforms.

3. Brand awareness: The best TV show marketing campaigns can be evaluated based on their impact on brand awareness. This can be measured through search volume, website traffic, and social media followers. An increase in these metrics can indicate that the marketing campaign has successfully raised awareness about the show and its brand.

4. Customer acquisition and retention: TV marketing campaigns can also be evaluated based on their impact on customer acquisition and retention. Marketers can track metrics such as new customer sign-ups, subscriber churn rate, and customer lifetime value to determine whether the campaign has successfully attracted and retained viewers.

Marketers can also look at other relevant data, such as demographics, geographic location, and viewing habits, to gain insights into their audience and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

The 3 Most Successful TV Marketing Campaigns

In today's Media and Publishing landscape, marketing strategies for TV shows are essential. Streaming services and networks invest significant sums of money to generate buzz and excitement for their shows' premieres or upcoming seasons. However, what distinguishes the most successful TV marketing campaigns from the rest?

The best campaigns have found creative ways to succeed through a multi-faceted approach, including trailers, posters, experiences, and social media strategies. By combining the power of TV with the interactivity and engagement of social media, brands can create more immersive and effective campaigns than ever before.

Best Word-of-mouth Campaign: Squid Game

In just three months, Squid Game became a cultural phenomenon and the #1 show in Netflix Originals history. However, the viral South Korean Netflix series did not attain fame overnight. Word-of-mouth marketing from viewers encouraging their friends and family to watch either in person or online played a considerable role in the virality of the show. While the original series did earn overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, the excitement and discussion on social platforms amplified the message. The show's violent content and social commentary sparked controversy, debates, and memes, and #squidgame on Tik Tok has 81.2B views and counting

The hype didn't stop with just viewers — brands and influencers began to jump on the Squid Game bus. Influencer giant MrBeast recreated the show with real people and a prize pot of $456K! Heineken, Pepsi, Budweiser and Durex were just a few of the companies which tapped into the show's social trends and placed their brand logo at the forefront. 

pepsi squid game dalgona candy instagram post
Image credit: @pepsi

While the world can’t wait to see what is in store for season 2, watch out for how brands, influencers and viewers get involved.

Best Use of Bad Publicity: Gossip Girl 

If there's one lesson to take away from the hit TV show Gossip Girl, it's that controversy can be a powerful tool for generating buzz. Rather than shying away from negative reviews or press, the show and its production company CW embraced them. They used them to their advantage, fueling ongoing drama and turning criticism into a talking point. When it came time for HBO Max to promote their new season, they captured the initial spark with mysterious tweets from a new, anonymous 'Gossip Girl.' 

Gossip Girl's social media strategy played a big role in this approach. The show's official Twitter account regularly engaged with fans and responded to comments and reviews — even those less than glowing. By poking fun at criticism and keeping the conversation going, the show generated a ton of social media buzz and built a loyal following.

Image credit: @gossipgirl

Ultimately, Gossip Girl understood that controversy combined with consistent audience engagement could be a winning formula for building a successful marketing strategy for a TV show. In the end, the show proved that there's no such thing as bad publicity as long as you know how to use it to your advantage.

Best Use of Product Placement: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad provides a refreshing change in a world where product placements are often curated to show the consumer how the brand can benefit them. The show integrates brands in an organic way that adds to the authenticity of the show's setting and characters without pushing viewers to make a hole in their pockets.

Is there a cooler dad move than when Walter White bought himself a Chrysler 300 SRT-8 and his son a Dodge Challenger on his 51st birthday? This iconic scene embodies a typical young man's dream, and how the cars are filmed makes them an essential part of the story rather than just an afterthought. Moments like this turned the series into a gold mine for building brand awareness in an organic way. 

Image credit: PopCorners

Breaking Bad's commercial spot during Super Bowl LVII was a prime example of how great TV marketing campaigns can keep a show culturally relevant years after it has stopped airing. The PopCorners ad, which embodied an iconic moment and the classic filming style of the show, delivered a fun twist to promote the snack and help spark a resurgence of viewership. Breaking Bad's use of product placement is truly an art form that adds to the show's appeal and lasting impact.

Tips for Your TV Show Social Media Campaign

There are a few essential tips for brands to keep in mind when crafting their social media campaigns. While social media marketing provides some flexibility and opportunity for brands to get creative, these following tips are non-negotiable for TV brands looking to make an impact on social.

1. Create social accounts for the show: Start to build a community around your program on popular platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. These accounts should be used to promote brand awareness, humanize characters to make them more relatable to fans, and keep your audience up to date on news surrounding the title.

2. Share exclusive content that isn’t available anywhere else: Tease your audience with sneak peeks of an upcoming episode, promote interviews with cast members, and highlight behind-the-scenes footage. This can create a sense of exclusivity and encourage fans to actively follow the show on social media.

3. Engage with your audience: Use social media to better understand your community. Respond to comments, start trending hashtags related to the show, promote discussion points around characters, and even run contests for branded merchandise. 

4. Reach target audiences through Facebook Ads: Facebook’s advertising platform helps you to target demographics, behaviors and interests. This is perfect for reaching people who may be interested in your show and encourage them to tune in.

Overall, by establishing a dedicated following, sharing exclusive content, engaging with fans on a regular basis, and targeting ads to desired demographics, you can easily build buzz around tv shows on social media.

How Dash Hudson Can Support TV Marketing Campaigns 

Want to become a savvy marketer? Make sure your organic social strategy is rooted in data. You can take inspiration from your competitors and industry by using Dash Hudson's Competitive Insights and Benchmarking tool. With performance benchmarks, you'll never miss a beat when it comes to uncovering your share of voice, trending competitor content, and actionable data from Reporting, Insights, and Trends. And the best part? You can compile all of this information into sophisticated custom reports that can be easily shared across your entire organization. Get ahead of the competition and start making data-driven decisions.

But why stop there? Are you struggling to understand the impact of your cross-channel marketing campaign? Wondering which content performed best or is trending across your socials? Need to know how your campaign hashtag is performing or which influencers are talking about your new series? If you ask yourself any of these questions, you need a comprehensive Campaign Reporting tool that gets it.  

With Dash Hudson, you are empowered to take a proactive approach to reporting and scheduling your social media content. By assigning your content to a specific campaign, you can save time and keep your content segmented and organized. This allows you to stay on top of your campaign content and ensure that everything is recorded in your report —Start using Dash Hudson today and streamline your social media marketing strategy for TV shows. 


How do I promote my TV show on social media?

To create one of the best ad campaigns and promote your TV show, creating a strong social media presence is essential. Start building a community on popular platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Use these accounts to increase brand awareness, make characters more relatable to fans, and keep your audience up to date with news about the show.

What marketing strategy does Netflix use?

Netflix's marketing strategy is focused on producing high-quality personalized content, leveraging social media and influencer partnerships, and using data-driven insights to inform their decisions. By combining these tactics, they have become a leader in the streaming industry and continue to grow their brand and subscriber base.

How does Netflix promote shows?

Netflix is a master of marketing when it comes to promoting its TV shows using social media. It has a variety of methods and strategies that it uses to generate buzz and excitement around its content. 

It utilizes social media platforms to engage with its audience and create a community around its shows. 

Its algorithm is able to increase viewership by recommending shows to viewers based on its previous viewing history. 

Netflix takes a traditional but effective approach of using trailers, teasers, and other video content to give viewers a taste of what to expect from its shows. These videos are often shared across multiple platforms and generate a lot of excitement and anticipation.

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