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May 26, 2015 Case Studies

How ‘Reporters’ created news on social media with an innovative social media campaign

Brand Name: Sony Entertainment Television

Agency name:  Tonic Worldwide

Objective:
To kick-start its launch campaign for “Reporters” – a show based against a backdrop of a newsroom, SonyTv opened with a strong first promo – the show protagonist Rajeev Khandelwal claiming “Kuch Khabrein Hoti Hain, Kuch Banayi Jaati Hain”  (Some news is news and some news is made). Our aim was to build on this shocking statement and activate an integrated campaign across mediums that increases the virability quotient for ‘Reporters’ before the first episode airs on TV. Another challenge was to deliver big media exposure and buzz for a relatively small investment.

Challenges

Usually, the male leads in Hindi shows are portrayed as infallible and as a role model or idol for the masses to emulate. Along came the character of Kabir Sharma. Unlike any hero stereotype – the lead protagonist with shades of grey, with a ‘devil-may-care attitude’ and who would go to any lengths to get whatever he wanted. Our challenge was to limelight his persona, give the audience a glimpse of his hard-hitting nature and all this, within a minimum budget. Another major dilemma was to create a disruptive launch campaign which could drive home the core concept of the show which claimed “Kuch Khabrein Hoti Hain, Kuch Banayi Jaati Hain.”

Strategy/Insight

We charted a course which was different from any usual route of contests previously done during show launches in Hindi GECs. What we wanted to do is create original unique content and drive conversations around it. Since the objective was to differentiate the protagonist Kabir Sharma, we launched him as the Editor-In- Chief of KKN News Channel on the professional social media platform LinkedIn. The insight being that LinkedIn was a serious platform which would help establish Kabir’s stature as a serious reporter and enable us to fraternize within the media industry. What ensued was a massive campaign where we put Kabir on a recruit hunt for an intern at his news channel- KKN.

We backed this LinkedIn profile with a Twitter account called ‘@KabirReports.’ The idea was to bring out his ingenious journalistic nature through this personal Twitter handle, wherein Kabir would share his sharp views by tweeting on latest news trending on Twitter.

Additionally, for the launch campaign, we pursued the route of sensationalism driving viewership, a practice commonly followed by the TV media, as also brilliantly portrayed in ‘Reporters’ promos.

Our approach was designed to strike gold on the launch day itself and we knew we could only do it with edgy, bold content on the lines of the core concept of the show. The insight being that only certain type of videos deliver results in a short span of time and the more shocking the content, more are they willing to share it. We contemplated a plan where we would create hype around the fact that the first episode of Reporters was leaked and get the internet abuzz with this news.

Execution

Unusually, the protagonist of the show was launched on social media first before any major promotion. The character “Kabir Sharma” was first introduced as an accomplished journalist, along with his educational qualifications on LinkedIn. All our communication on his profile had to portray a personalized intonation of the character- that of a strong, driven journalist who knows his way in the breaking news game. Upon the launch of his campaign, we went on a strategic drive to gather connections which were valuable to his profile. Through LinkedIn, we connected his profile with an enriched fraternity of media and PR professionals, TV anchors, news reporters, budding journalists, etc. who would be interested in the show. This profile got a veritable boost as it was promoted heavily on SonyTv’s Facebook and Twitter campaign.

Closer to the launch, we unveiled our “Reporter Intern Hunt” campaign, in which the Editor-In-Chief of KKN – Kabir, would recruit an intern by interviewing budding journalists. Having established Kabir’s credibility as a reputed journalist enabled by this realistic profile, the “Reporters Intern Hunt” began with a teaser campaign with Rajeev Khandelwal’s video being put up on Facebook and Twitter asking people to join him for an interview. In the interview, the audience had to answer a simple question asked by Kabir Sharma – “What difference, do you think, you’d make in the world of journalism?” through a social media post. The biggest attraction for this hunt was that 1 winner would get to spend a day with Kabir at KKN itself – a wish-come-true for all Rajeev Khandelwal fans who would get an opportunity to meet the actor on sets of Reporters.

Adding value was his handle ‘@KabirReports’, which started with a series of breaking news and trends being highlighted on a timeline basis. Major scandals and controversies right from the day’s start to end were highlighted through tweets from @KabirReports using the trending hashtags, with Kabir’s acute sense of journalism delivering a solid punch much to the audience’s delight. These peculiar tweets went on to showcase the under-working of his mind and the audience, regaled with his sarcastic tone, got increasingly curious to know more about who ‘Kabir Sharma’ was.

On the day of the launch, people on Twitter woke up to the news – “Reporters First Episode is Leaked!” and the link of the video spread like wildfire amongst Twitteratis. People were stunned to find that an episode could get leaked before the launch and soon, #ReportersEpisodeLeaked started trending.

The leaked video link took people to a site which actually resembled one of those torrent sites that people visit for downloading content. Since it gave them an edge of witnessing exclusive content even before television viewers, many Twitter users clicked on the Torrent link, eager to find out more. And they were in for a surprise! The leaked video had a key twist – after downloading it, users could watch the first two minutes of the 1st episode. Post which, the screen went blank… and then the 2 lead protagonists – Rajeev and Kritika, spoke about how this news was made up and invited viewers to tune in to ‘Reporters Tonight’!

We thus hit the nail right on the mark as it drove the message of show concept home, all this while getting the buzz going on the day of the launch.

Results:

LinkedIn Profile:

  • 500+ connections within just a month
  • #ReportersInternHunt
  • Tweets- 2853
  • Timeline Deliveries- 46,844, 802
  • Contributors- 502
  • Reach- 1,403,811
  • Twitter Handle- @KabirReports
  • Followers- 106

In 4 hours we received for #ReportersEpisodeLeaked:

  • Tweets- 2584
  • Timeline Deliveries- 16,461,192
  • Contributors- 526
  • Reach- 1,461,685

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