About this entry
The Twitter campaign for "Derek" baked the show's themes of kindness and elder wisdom into its voice and strategy in every message and activation. This approach began with the naming of "Derek" social accounts - "BeLikeDerek" on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. This name implied a challenge for fans to emulate Derek's compassion and selflessness, a prompt we hardwired into stunts throughout the campaign. Below is a summary of "Derek's" main and most effective social media activations on Twitter:
We garnered initial exposure for the new Derek social accounts through a hashtag activation prompting fans to post their favorite quotes from the show with #BeLikeDerek (Tweet Example). Select entries were rewarded with exclusive #BeLikeDerek scarves, modeled by Ricky Gervais (Shown Here).
Another early activation called "Who Wore it Bestest" set the "Derek" voice in humorous contrast to the often snarky tone of celebrity culture on social media. We paired very "Derek" tropes and visual cues with celebrities trending on Twitter, asking fans to choose which of two stars was wearing a "Derek" look better - from Dougie's bald head (Example), to Derek's frumpy cardigan (Example), to Kev's granny glasses and a mustache (Example). Fans appreciated the absurd pairings of Derek motifs with pop culture and the images tapped Derek into trending topics.
With #TextsWithGran, the centerpiece of this campaign, we asked the show's creator Ricky Gervais to be the mouthpiece, utilizing his wide influence. The stunt was inspired by the popularity of funny text screengrabs ( Nathan Fielder's Twitter Prank and Damn You Autocorrect), and the tenderness we saw fans expressing for the elderly folks in their lives. We challenged fans to ask elders for life lessons via text message, screenshot the exchange, and tweet it to @BeLikeDerek with #TextsWithGran. Ricky Gervais kicked off the stunt (Link to Ricky's Tweet) and Derek accounts supported the campaign over the following week (Example Tweet). Organic coverage rolled in from sources such as Buzzfeed , Business Insider , and HuffPo. To conclude the stunt, we chose one entrant to receive a paid trip to visit her grandparents, and documented that trip via Twitter and Facebook (See Facebook Album).
Building off this success, a recent activation for Random Acts of Kindness Week urged fans to submit their own acts of kindness (Kickoff Graphic) for a chance to receive an exclusive #BeLikeDerek scarf (Winner Announcement).
To amplify growing fan engagement, @BeLikeDerek also hosted a live Twitter Q&A called #AskDerek (See Graphic), which reached over 7 million accounts and made 90 million impressions. Select participants also received exclusive prizes (Example).
On an ongoing basis, the Derek Twitter account engaged with influencer fans from Aaron Paul to the Crown Princess of Norway with custom graphics (Example) resulting in International press coverage of the Derek Twitter account, even making Norwegian Television News.
The core messages of "Derek," which is positioned as a show about kindness and the elderly, at first glance posed a long shot for social media traction. Our challenge was to make the seemingly unfashionable themes of "Derek" engaging, relentlessly positive, and self-propulsive given the bulk episode launch. We achieved this through a finely tuned social voice, a series of highly shareable graphics, strategic collaboration with Ricky Gervais, and several successful fan activations that garnered positive media attention.
For a niche show that had been previously aired on British television, "Derek" surpassed expectations for numbers of engaged fans and followers with continually growing engagement. "Derek" social channels have built a home for fans to relive favorite moments and themes from the show long after the initial bulk release, and to stoke enthusiasm for the recently-announced new season.
The #TextsWithGran stunt utilized a custom hashtag which grew "Derek"'s social graph by 30% and engaged thousands of participants. The #TextsWithGran stunt is uniquely significant for the social sentiment it inspired. Fans and media praised the campaign for connecting generations, bringing the elderly into Twitter, and showcasing "what really matters" with a sense of humor (Sample Tweets). We endowed the popular idea of text screengrabs with a positive "Derek" spin, and the result was a hashtag campaign with a universal and feel-good appeal. Above all, it built the "Derek"'s reputation as an authentically uplifting voice in the social space.
For a show whose themes and voice are underrepresented in social media for television, "Derek" found a way to stay true to its own brand while galvanizing its younger, connected fans and spreading positivity through all its channels and interactions.