THIS IS US: MULTIPLATFORM EXPERIENCE
The This Is Us Multiplatform Experience was designed to be the most human, emotionally resonant effort ever from a television series. Our goal: make deeply meaningful connections between individual viewers to the show, to the talent, and to the rest of the fan community.
This Is Us is a deeply human series. That gave us the opportunity and the challenge to produce a multiplatform approach with the same ethos.
Our insight: for a show that was about the connections between people, our viewers would seek a similar experience online. Our mantra became to embrace the “Universal Us” in This Is Us. Following the release of the record-breaking trailer, we knew that initial insight was right: with 105 million views on Facebook and YouTube (a record on Facebook), we saw millions of people tagging friends, planning viewing parties, empathizing with the characters, and sharing how the trailer brought them to tears.
So we developed a multiplatform approach that sought to create genuine connections between each viewer to the show and it’s characters, to the personable cast, and to the rest of the burgeoning fan base.
The result was a genuine movement. This Is Us Season 1 became the most social new show of the 2016/17 season (source: Nielsen Social) and the premiere of Season 2 became the most social broadcast episode of 2017 when it aired (source: Nielsen Social). Millions came together to share the experience of not only watching the show, but how the show resonated in their own lives.
CONNECTIONS TO THE SHOW:
For each episode we produced an after show, “That Was Us,” that allowed fans to extend the conversation with cast and producers. Each week they shared their take on the show, the characters, the experience making the episode, and the stories from their lives that inspired This Is Us. Distributed across YouTube, Facebook, VOD, NBC Digital, Hulu, and more, the after show was one of the most creatively successful multiplatform extensions we produced.
On-air we built in a rallying point into each episode for fans to share a moment from the show on social. Our “Share the Moment” effort drove millions of conversations about the show and how the specific topics related to their own lives. It was such a success, Chevrolet was interested in sponsoring and we found an organic way to include them in our activation.
CONNECTIONS TO THE CAST:
Our game and gifted cast bought into the plan, so we were able to leverage their enthusiasm to produce an unprecedented amount of digital/social cast content: Facebook Lives, set tours, surprise fan visits, 1:1 fan interaction, live tweeting, Q&As, Snapchat takeovers, Instagram takeovers, Instagram stories, and more. But it wasn’t just the volume, it was the quality.
These activations were thoughtfully plotted, so when something happened in the show, we created talent content that skillfully spoke to the in-show elements. For example, in a moving scene in the show, Milo does push ups with his character’s son on his back. In a video we shot with talent, Sterling (who plays the adult version of the son) does push ups Milo on his back. Fans loved it, it was relevant to the show, and deepened the connection with the audience. And that was just an example among hundreds of original elements we produced with cast.
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMUNITY:
We engage with fans from all our shows, but with This Is Us we threw out the playbook and started fresh. 1:1 engagement happened across all major platforms as the handles cried with the fans, empathized with their personal stories, and encouraged a positive culture of sharing and respect.
We also made sure to arm the fans with material to encourage socialization of their affinity. For example, our Facebook Frame series have been installed by more than 7 million people and seen 1.7 billion times. (That’s billion with a “B”.)
We engaged directly with the fan-created Facebook fan groups by creating strong relationships with the moderators. We leveraged the moderators and our other high profile fans and armed them with assets and experience to further evangelize the show – whether that was sending them viewing kits, inviting them to set, inviting them to the premiere party, or giving them access to exclusive content early, we made sure our influencers and advocates felt rewarded for the loyalty to the show.
We also created a This Is Us meme generator that encouraged fans to share photos of their This Is Us moment. Thousands entered and select fans were featured on a Times Square Billboard and one lucky fan won a trip to our season 2 LA premiere party.
All of these efforts combined to make the This Is Us Multiplatform Experience into a movement. Millions joined, millions shared, and if you read the posts, you’d know millions cried. It cut through the typical TV noise to become a very human, very authentic experience.
Not only do our content and activations connect to the show, community, and the talent but it is best-in-class. Everything we put out is engaging, innovative, and brings This Is Us into the broader social conversation and cultural zeitgeist.