TV Show Marketing in 2024: A Complete Guide

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You might remember how Breaking Bad kept users engaged all week while waiting for the latest episode release. Or how Squid Game took the world by storm with its cunning digital campaigns. The journey of TV show marketing is undeniably packed with fascinating twists and turns.

In this exploration, we’ll trace this vibrant evolution, with striking examples like these, from its early days to the current digital era. So, whether you’re a marketer looking for inspiration from the past or trying to chart the future, fasten your seat belt as you embark on this captivating trip down memory lane.

Ready to decode what makes a TV show campaign genuinely unforgettable?

The (short) history of TV show marketing

Let’s rewind the tape and set our sights on the old-school days of marketing, when TV antennas were the latest tech, and the concept of viral marketing was as alien as extraterrestrial life. Along with technological and cultural innovations, these traditional TV show marketing campaigns needed to evolve to keep up with the game. Not only do they have to adapt to the new technologies, such as the internet and social media, but they also would start involving the audience as an active and successful part of their strategies. 

Pre-internet era

Way back when TVs were starting to grow antennas, TV marketing was a different ball game altogether. It involved several late nights at advertising agencies, billboard paintings, radio spots, and newspapers splashed with captivating headlines about upcoming shows. Can you imagine the creative brainstorming sessions that would take place? 

They had fewer resources yet created some of the most memorable campaigns that still resonate in our minds. What makes this marketing era captivating is the message: meaningful, sincere, and informative pieces of content were launched on air so the public knows what they’re buying.

The advent of the Internet

Then, the 90’s came, and we got it the internet way. The web hasn’t just changed our lives—it revolutionized TV show marketing. Suddenly, promotions were no longer limited to time-bound TV commercial breaks or front-page newspaper news—the 24/7 marketing era was born. Now, marketing campaign strategists can connect directly with potential viewers, share regular updates, and build real-time hype! A click became more potent than ever before, and then it became a valued asset for advertisers, thanks to the power of the World Wide Web.

Social media revolution

As the internet and technology evolved, another wave hit us, the mighty social media revolution. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram swooped in and changed the game—shifting the whole marketing dynamic yet again. It became a two-way communication, where fans could now tweet to their favorite characters, participate in contests, and feel a part of the show’s universe. 

Hashtag trends, the first generation of memes, and GIFs suddenly added a new flavor to the marketing mix; however, they became really important for TV shows when real-time updates and predictions became a mainstream phenomenon. Let’s remember how blogs, forums, and social media discussed the Lost finale or how millions of viewers were watching Walter White, aka Heinserberg’s drug career start in Breaking Bad, while also tweeting about it. 

The rise of streaming services

However, these social media platforms would become important for a TV show marketing strategy, with the rise of the most popular meme around 2015, “Netflix and Chill.” Netflix and other streaming platforms have been the most significant drivers of change in recent years. 

As we witnessed with the literal thousands of shows launched every year, the power of traditional cable networks started eroding. Now, viewers would do more than surf channels; they would control what they wanted to see. They could decide when, where, and what to watch. 

A remote in a hand in front of a TV symbolizing TV show marketing

Marketing and engagement strategies

“The tools may change, but the craft remains the same.” This phrase just hits the nail about TV marketing strategies. With each significant technology change, marketers adapt and strategize accordingly. Be it the traditional methods of yesteryear or the latest features emerging on today’s social media platforms—each era has its distinguishing promotional palette. Let’s dive in to decode these strategies and understand the interplay of the modern, multifaceted marketing machine in the context of YouTube, blogs, IMDb, Instagram, and TikTok.

The importance of a good social media presence

Originally a platform for sharing funny cat videos, YouTube has evolved into an expansive space for TV show marketing. Series teasers, interviews with actors, behind-the-scenes footage, video reviews, and many creative fan edits have found a home here, allowing an increment in organic engagement through sharing videos.

On the other hand, the meme platforms for excellence, Instagram and TikTok, allow TV marketing strategies to present their campaign in a more impactful and bite-sized way. With reels, photos, and short videos, marketers and artists promote viral challenges, memes, short reviews, and more creative ways to engage their audience and make them an active part of the strategy. 

An exemplary case study in this context is Netflix’s One Piece live adaptation, where on their YouTube channel, they shared bloopers, trailers, and exclusive interviews that would engage anime lovers and a completely new audience entirely out of the scope of anime and manga. On Instagram and TikTok, these interviews and bloopers were shared in a more compact format, but we also saw fan art, cosplays, reviews, and more fan-made content that made this anime and now live-action series an international sensation. 

ONE PIECE | Official Teaser Trailer | Netflix

The role of actors and actresses as influencers and ambassadors of your TV show

Actors are also a powerful tool to enhance your TV show marketing campaign because they not only hold a powerful influence on-screen but also off-screen; actors are natural influencers! By embracing this role, they can become invaluable marketing tools and genuinely connect with audiences through their social media accounts. And that connection is vital to elevating marketing campaigns.

For example, let’s take “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke. Her active Instagram feed was a wild ride! She kept her fans hooked between seasons with snaps from her on-set adventures, off-screen quirks, and heartwarming candids. And her followers loved every bit of it! These personal insights fed the frenzy for the show, giving the marketing reach a severe boost while building a die-hard fan army. 

IMDb & blogs

With the massification of the internet, the sway of a single critic’s review has now scrambled into a democratic space of audience-led rating systems and blog pages. The influence of IMDbs, blogs, and fan forums is undeniable because positive reviews could make all the difference regarding engagement and views worldwide. 

Audience ratings and reviews on these platforms often cue undecided viewers as they navigate the endless sea of content. HBO’s “Chernobyl” is an ideal case. The show’s skyrocketing IMDb rating cemented its place among the top-rated TV programs, driving curiosity and a broader viewership to HBO’s instant classic mini-series about one of the most unprecedented events of the 20th century. 

Innovative publicity: When art meets marketing in the real world

In the age of digital marketing domination, it’s easy to forget the impact that a tactile, real-world experience can make. There’s something undeniably compelling about blending art with marketing, transforming cityscapes into promotional canvases that bridge the gap between fiction and reality. From breathtaking large-scale installations to interactive public performances, these innovative strategies create immersive experiences, encouraging audiences to connect with a TV show in a truly unforgettable way.

“Money Heist” ( “La Casa de Papel” ) serves as an exemplary case of innovative real-world publicity. To promote the show, Netflix replicated the notorious, symbolic Salvador Dali mask and red jumpsuit ensemble in some of the world’s most famous landmarks. The sight of these landmarks symbolically overrun by the “resistance” inspired by the show triggered not only curiosity among the new potential viewers but also excitement among existing fans.

Another undeniable example is Netflix’s “Squid Game.” The show managed to make a colossal impact through its real-world marketing. A cookie reference from  “Squid Game” was spotted on almost all social media platforms and by large corporations like Pepsi. Interactive photo booths were set up in South Korea, where people could have their pictures taken inside the giant “Squid Game” doll, further stirring up engagement in person and virtually on social media.

These innovative, real-world marketing strategies stand as testaments to the times when art and marketing beautifully intermingled. Incorporating the show’s elements into public spaces helps induce a sense of fandom and personal connection, significantly amplifying viewers’ engagement towards the series. 

What do these campaigns have in common? Lessons for understanding the best TV show marketing campaigns

Ever look at a successful TV show marketing campaign and wonder, “What’s their secret?” Decoding these triumphs can seem complex, but shared elements are consistently at play. We’ve sifted through these successful campaigns to distill essential takeaways. These key lessons not only help you understand what makes these campaigns tick but also guide you in creating your successful strategies. Uncover these insights and step into the world of successful TV marketing campaigns.

    1. Offer something exclusive: How about a tantalizing sneak peek into the next episode? Or a coffee chat with your favorite character? Show fans what’s happening behind the curtain. The options are endless! Offering content they can’t get anywhere else makes the fans stick around.
    2. Integrated cross-channel approach: Utilize various platforms to reach your target audience and allow your message to flow seamlessly across social media, print, and podcasts. Diversify your touchpoints, ensuring maximum reach.
    3. Break the fourth wall: Use social media to get up close and personal with your fans. Chat with them, start hashtags related to your show, create or show support for fan theories, or even have a fun contest for your show’s merchandise. Engagement is the magic word here, remember.
    4. Building bonds that last: If there’s one thing we should all learn from our favorite sitcoms, nothing beats genuine connections. Like best friendships, a strong bond with your audience is built over time. Make each interaction unique, value their input, listen to their needs, and, most importantly, always be there for them (cue the FRIENDS theme song)!
    5. Measurable success: Set appropriate goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. Analyze the data, learn from your mistakes, and adapt your strategies for future success.

Armed with these nuggets of wisdom, you’re ready to dive into the wonderful world of TV show marketing. Take these lessons and watch your marketing strategy excel like never before. Remember, every challenge has a lesson to be learned, so embrace it all and enjoy the exciting journey. Enjoy! 

Key takeaway: Leverage every digital tool at your disposal for a top-notch TV show marketing campaign. 

From tech’s fast-paced dance that we’ve got to jam to, the art of sweeping audiences off their feet, to the detective work that measuring success often needs, we’ve seen it all. Yet, each challenge is just a valuable lesson in a clever guise. Leveraging the past, present, and future of TV show marketing prepares us for victorious campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Netflix skillfully combines traditional promotional tools with modern digital strategies. Their advertising strategy primarily depends on digital platforms, running targeted campaigns across social media, video-sharing websites, and online publications. With accounts like NeflixGeeked and NetlfixIsAJoke, Netflix has marketed its shows by sharing exclusive updates, behind-the-scenes tidbits, interviews, fan art, full specials of stand-up routines, and much more content promoted for community engagement and advertising. 

TV advertising is a way for companies to use television, directly or indirectly, to advertise their product. The most common option is having commercials air during ad breaks. Some brands opt for product placement, which is where their product appears in a show or movie. With TV advertising, companies can reach a wide audience at once and tell them about what they have to offer.

You can promote a TV series by doing the following:

    1. You need to create an advertising plan for various media forms but keep a unified voice around it by using engaging visuals, social media power, and building genuine connections with your audience. 
    2. Use native ads, social media ads, search ads, etc., to increase your show’s online visibility and traffic by continually updating and adapting these ads based on consumer analytics to achieve a higher ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). You can also use search engine marketing techniques to optimize visibility and implement data analytics tools for tracking ad clicks and conversions to optimize your campaign. 
    3. Embrace TV, radio marketing, and local community engagement to maximize audience reach. This strategy builds your brand voice, generates leads, promotes specific products or services related to your show, and creates a sense of belonging in the community, exponentially increasing organic traffic. 
    4. You can stimulate engagement through events such as contests and active participation in both online and offline community platforms like Facebook Groups or exclusive premiers. This approach boosts audience interaction by creating a sense of anticipation for the series.
    5. Develop tailored email campaigns to maintain regular contact with your viewers. Share newsletters, exclusive content, or episode updates to keep them involved and interested.
    6. Engage with influencers whose audiences match your target viewers. Thanks to their fan base and promotional content, you can amplify your campaign efforts to a new level.

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Written by GRIN Contributor

GRIN is the pioneer behind the world’s first Creator Management platform built to support every brand’s journey to connecting with consumers through authentic creator relationships. Thousands of the world’s fastest-growing brands—including SKIMS, Warby Parker, Allbirds, Mejuri, and MVMT—use GRIN to make creators feel like trusted, empowered partners and work with them to build their brands into household names.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2024. All rights reserved.

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