Some franchises have figured out how to interact with fans… and some haven’t
When a TV show, movie franchise, or book series starts garnering a large fandom, companies are faced with the challenge of interacting with fans. What’s the best course of action? Indulge? Ignore? Or exploit? Some manage to do it well. Others… do not.
THE HEAVY HITTERS:
Teen Wolf is a trailblazer. Their Twitter sounds like an actual person rather than a robot mindlessly spewing production updates and opportunities to retweet. But their Tumblr is really where the magic lies. People know who is answering their questions (his name is Stephen), and he talks to users like he is just a fellow Teen Wolf fan blog. Teen Wolf marketers have managed to effortlessly handle the increasing lack of Fourth Wall in today’s media.
via Teen Wolf Tumblr
Hannibal's Tumblr designers look like they had some fun. The site is fun and interactive, and aims to create a community centric space for “Fannibals”. Plus, you can tell whoever is running it is having a really good time. The Hannibal team is known for showing a lot of gratitude for their fans. Based on their Twitter, they never miss a moment to thank Fannibals and share copious amounts of fan art. Our only gripe is that while their Tumblr has loads of personality, it could use more Q&A opportunities for fans.
We don’t really think anyone is expecting Chris Evans to show up at fan’s doorstop with thank you cards. Marvel is one of the biggest franchises out there, and that means opportunities for fan interaction are few and far between. Many brands use Tumblr as a space to chip away at the Fourth Wall and get closer, however Marvel stays mostly silent on this front. This June they did do a huge Q&A via Tumblr with the cast of Ant Man, but this type of interaction is rare. Marvel has one of the most devoted fan bases around, and it would be nice to see that appreciated in ways bigger than the occasional reblogging of fan art.
For a show that is going on 11 seasons due to fan drive, they better have a damn rewarding PR presence. While they’re no Teen Wolf, Supernatural has a pretty interactive Tumblr presence that respects and celebrates its fans. However, given their PR failure, #AskSupernatural, we’re not ready to stamp our seal of approval. Essentially fans used the hashtag to reveal problematic aspects of the show (ie. “why do only white men survive? #asksupernatural”). The marketing team responded by deleting the hashtag and ignoring everyone. We think it could have gone better.
The Hunger Games is in a similar boat as Marvel; huge omnipresent marketing campaigns with little fan interaction. However, much more so than Marvel, The Hunger Games treats fans like walking billboards. Recently, they have taken to releasing promotional posters in exchange for ten million clicks to their official website. While THG provides fans with a tons of interactive spaces, the fact that fans essentially had to pay for their own commercial rubs me the wrong way.
Just remember, if you’re a writer/producer/actor of a popular TV show, movie franchise or the like, please be nice to fans, we pay your rent.
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