Last week, AMC set a crowd of zombies loose in New York City. They were recorded on video traipsing all over town, frightening some civilians and amusing others- and the resulting footage was turned into a viral video with the tagline “Zombies Don’t Belong Here.” This is the result of the cable-provider-versus-network tiff that has left Dish subscribers without AMC- without a way to advertise to Dish customers, AMC’s campaign to get back on the airwaves has been relegated to other media, namely internet video and social networks. This video is one of the most rapidly viral videos, with nearly 5 million views in the week since it’s been released- which goes to show just how large a reach social media has and how powerful good content can be.
When a similar situation arose last month and DirecTV temporarily dropped Viacom channels, Viacom’s resulting meme campaign was amusing- but not nearly as compelling as what AMC has in mind. Their next move is asking users to create a video “of how you would react if you were a DISH subscriber who lost AMC and one or more of these specific programs: The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Hell on Wheels.” It can be difficult to persuade users to participate in online contests due to privacy concerns, but this one rallies fans of TV shows to work toward a common goal, and also offers a generous $4,000 cash prize and a Canon 7D camera for the winner. This campaign has several key attributes that will aid its success:
- Participants have a strong connection to the television shows that they are missing- the content that AMC is asking for will be easy for viewers to create.
- The whole idea of social media is listening- consumers like to feel as though their thoughts are being taken into account, and what better way than an open invitation to send an empassioned video?
- Virality can’t be predicted- but content creators can be relied upon to share their own content, especially with an incentive like a generous prize.
- Seeing other videos creates a sense of camaraderie among Dish subscribers who are all in the same situation- what may have begun as a minor inconvenience will be perceived as a massive event that effects millions of people.
AMC’s contest will undoubtedly yield some amusing results and while that will definitely help raise awareness for AMC’s plight, will it actually have any effect on Dish’s decision? Will it cause Dish subscribers to switch cable providers? This contest is clearly very well planned, except for one thing- what is the goal?