Best Use of Social Media: The Wiz

 
 

Objective

Our goal for The Wiz Live! – the groundbreaking version of The Wizard of Oz that would be NBC’s latest holiday musical production – was to create a shared experience for families across America and to become a vital part of the national conversation.

To achieve this we developed a social campaign that leveraged original content, interactive activations and the star power of our A-list cast (which included Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, David Allen Grier, Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley and many more) to tap into audiences’ nostalgia for The Wiz, building buzz and awareness through specific promotions that inspired fans to become evangelists for the show. This hyper-targeted effort created urgency, encouraged conversation, and ultimately drove participation around the show, making The Wiz Live! a social media-record breaking phenomenon and one of the most important television events of 2015. 

Ultimately, we focused on 3 key areas that would connect audiences with The Wiz:

 
  • NOSTALGIA

  • BUILDING ANTICIPATION

  • LIVE ENGAGEMENT

 

Strategy

Nostalgia

First, we strategically developed content that reminded fans of their nostalgia for The Wiz while also introducing key segments and mainstream audiences to the show. For example, because actress Stephanie Mills played the iconic Dorothy role in both the original Broadway production and the film, we knew that many potential viewers would find it challenging to accept anyone else in this role. Therefore, we orchestrated a symbolic "passing of the torch" between Mills and our new Dorothy, Shanice Williams, by having them sing the show's famous closing song "Home" together as a duet in a video produced specifically for digital audiences. Released on Facebook and YouTube, this piece enjoyed viral success with our target demographics and successfully introduced our Dorothy to old and new fans alike.

 
 
 
 

 

Building Anticipation

Second, we developed opportunities to build anticipation in the weeks ahead of the show. These efforts led to the creation of specific digital content that could be released by influencers, pushed out by our star-studded cast, or provided to targeted partners or press outlets for publication.

 
 

One example was our “No Place Like Home” meme generator, which played off the well-known phrase from The Wizard of Oz franchise with an easy and fun-to-use microsite that allowed users to create their own Instagram-ready images to include a personalized message to demonstrate what “Home” meant to them. This activation made it easy for fans, influencers and brands to show their excitement for The Wiz and many took advantage, including the entire cast of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” actors Eva Longoria and Larenz Tate, Complex Magazine and entertainment brands as varied as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and the Despicable Me “Minions”. 

 
 
 
 

Live Engagement

 

Our final goal was to drive conversation during the live event to create a unique experience for viewers.

In New York, our embedded social producer worked with the social teams of all cast members and our onsite photographer to collect content and share out across their social platforms. Twitter was on set with a photo booth, sharing BTS photos of cast members, dancers, costumes and more. 

 

Additionally, we had 3 major influencers – King “Kingsley” Russell, Todrick Hall and Karen Civil – roaming the set to give their fans and followers an inside look. With these specific influencers acting as our official social correspondents, we were able to reach our target audience with unique, highly relevant content. 

 
 
                                Kingsley Russell

                                Kingsley Russell

                                    Todrick Hall

                                    Todrick Hall

 

In LA, the NBC social team gathered real-time coverage of the East and West Coast broadcasts to live post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and NBC.com. Real time content (GIFs, short form video, long form video and social art) was created and shared to engage with fans, influencers and celebs throughout the show.

We also engaged with the numerous celebrities that tweeted about The Wiz, including Oprah, Ellen, Kerry Washington, Pink, Carrie Underwood, JLo, Zendaya and more. 

 
 
 
 

Results

The combined volume of these efforts made The Wiz Live! ubiquitous on social media in the weeks leading up to the show, during the live event, and then for over 48 hours following the final curtain. More specifically:

  • The Wiz Live! broke records on Twitter, with Nielsen Social reporting the musical ranks as the #1 most social live special program since Nielsen began tracking Twitter TV activity (Source: Nielsen, excluding award shows and political events).
  • Based on Tweets, The Wiz Live! was the #1 most social live special program since Nielsen Social began tracking Twitter TV activity in October 2011 (Source: Nielsen, excluding award shows and political events).
  • Wiz & NBC Official Accounts: 43.6M impressions on 12/3 from the official Wiz Facebook page, and the NBC Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • The Wiz Live! trended throughout the day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.