About this entry
It's almost two years since Nickelodeon proudly met the demands of its longtime fans on social media who demanded that we "Bring Back '90s Nick." The '90s Are All That programming block came out strong, running all the fan favorites from that "golden" decade. In its second year of existence, it took a huge leap forward, connecting that eager social audience with its on-air experience in innovative, hilarious and exciting new ways.
Week after week, the '90s Are All That block has integrated fan creations, photos, videos and memes into its epic stunts. The Ultimate '90s Nick Showdown on Facebook led to the "best '90s Nick show EVER" being crowned on-air with a special viewing that night. The "90s MEMEorial" stunt brought all your favorite Internet memes right into the episodes with big bold text written atop memorable scenes. And that's not to mention the fan-made memes that we ran in the space between those episodes.
From an April Fools' prank that trended number one on Twitter in the US and worldwide (featuring a jar of mayonnaise for a half-hour on-air), letting the fans 'host' our stunts with their Vine submissions that we play before episodes, and our '90s Are All CAT event that was exactly as Internet-y as it sounds, the '90s Are All That block has had its most social year yet, and we're just getting started.It all began on social. Nostalgic teens and twenty-somethings demanding the return of their beloved '90s programming from Nickelodeon's rich history. Almost two years ago, we happily met those demands. In 2013, we realized that it would take more than just airing past shows to recreate the unique experience of being a '90s Nick kid.
The programming of '90s Nickelodeon fit perfectly into your existence as a 10-year-old in 1996. Today it requires a new playground of sorts, created in the social space and reflected on-air, to connect with the audience in a meaningful way. Through a series of bold stunts, the '90s Are All That block has integrated fan creations, photos, videos and memes from all platforms to put the viewer IN the programming, right where they belong.
One of our favorite, lol-worthy stunts from the last year was our #90sMEMEorial Week. First of all, check out that pun! Secondly, the social engagement was da bomb! It all started by seeding out our ‘90s Nick-themed “memes” on our social platforms and asking fans to create their own versions. In came a stream of ‘Condescending Kenan,’ ‘Sleepy Tommy Pickles,’ ‘Overly Upset Ashley’ and more, all aligned with our shows and ready to blast out on-air! When the week rolled around, we paid tribute to the fans' works of Internet gold with awesome interstitials, and the trending topics followed each night. At the same time, we magnified the experience with additional share-worthy elements like the first-ever “in-show” memes that we simultaneously posted as GIFs to share on social to keep the loop going. Right while the episodes were playing, those beautiful “impact” letters hit the screen in the middle of famous ‘90s scenes, suddenly connecting nostalgia and relevance in a way that only The ‘90s Are All That could offer.
Another hit social stunt that delivered number one trending topics on Twitter in the US and worldwide, plus a tripling of our average rating in the time slot, was a little something we affectionately call “The Mayo.” All across our platforms we supplied our highly vocal "Rocko’s Modern Life" fans with the promise of a never-before-seen episode of the show. Fans were excited, to say the least. Even the show’s creator, Joe Murray, commented on our Facebook post about it. What they didn’t know was that at the strike of midnight, the beginning of April Fools' Day on the East Coast, we were going to serve a half-hour of a jar of mayonnaise on their TVs. That’s right, a static animation of a jar of mayonnaise for 30 whole minutes, with commercial breaks and fan Tweets running on the screen, the ultimate tribute to a social-favorite episode, “Wacky Deli,” in the most absurd way we could imagine. Mere minutes after it began on-air, Twitter exploded with reactions and we were there to capture it. Not only was this a successful and fun event for the team, it also provided us with invaluable data. We were able to map ratings against Twitter activity and the lifts went hand-in-hand. This was our first true petri dish of testing social impact on ratings-- with absolutely nothing changing on-air, ratings lifted exclusively because of the social conversation.
Of course, the next day we got to continue one of our beloved practices in the social/on-air space: our Twitter Responses. Whether it’s a laughing and/or screaming fan reacting to a jar of mayonnaise, Rob Kardashian talking about watching Hey Arnold or Jordin Sparks spilling her undying ‘90s Nick love, our on-air team quickly turns around packaging to highlight these top Tweets and blasts out our responses to them on all our platforms.
Our rule across the board is to treat all our concepts equally, whether they start online or on-air. That became undeniably clear when our social team kicked off the ultimate ‘90s Nick Faceoff, a bracket-style showdown of the top shows from the ‘90s in every category. In this eight-week digital experience on Facebook and our website, we experimented with different methods of letting fans vote, fully utilizing all of Facebook’s native functionalities. As we reached the end of the competition, logging over 20 million impressions and 200,000+ votes, the on-air team stepped up and delivered a payoff of the winning series being crowned with a special viewing that night. Fans were thrilled to see "Legends of the Hidden Temple" back on-air for the first time in months.
On top of all this, we've just broken into the Vine and Instagram Video space by soliciting short videos from our fans to let them 'host' special nights of programming. For these 'Mixtape' events, we put out the call to action, asking fans to send in their own tributes, acting like the VJs of their '90s memories, dedicating each episode to a fellow '90s fan near and dear to their heart. We love seeing video messages from our fans and we always blast them far and wide whenever they spring up.
We'll round things out by just mentioning that we did a "90s Are All CAT" stunt, mostly because we all love our own cats (and puns), but also because it was incredibly web-friendly and adorable. We received hundreds of photos of our fans' cats, put them in hilarious ‘90s Nickelodeon situations on-air and online, and tricked out all our episodes to make them truly CAT-astic! (i.e. replacing every few words with a 'meow' in an episode of "Kitten and Kel"). Cats need a little nostalgia in their lives too, ya know.
The ‘90s Nick kid in all of us doesn’t just want to watch ‘90s Nick shows. They want to be a part of them again. Through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine and Instagram, we’ve been able to reintegrate our fans into the programming so we can say with great pride that the ‘90s are back and better than ever.
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