I’m a bit of a pop culture junkie. My DVR consistently has 10-20 hours of programming on it. I browse IMDB endlessly for facts and trivia on films and television shows, along with the actors that star in them. I listen to Entertainment Weekly radio on Sirius XM on a regular basis. I read a plethora of pop culture blogs daily including DListed.com, EW.com, TVLine.com, TMZ.com, and RealityTea.com. It would be an understatement to call it a hobby. I’m not sure from where the inception of my interest in pop culture stems, but it was an interest that developed later in life.
American Idol & The Google Super Vote
Lately, I’ve found that my digital marketing and pop culture worlds have been blending to a point that have peaked my interest. One of the first instances of the merging of these two worlds was the discovery of the new voting protocol on American Idol. The producers at American Idol have teamed up with Google to implement something that’s called a “Super Vote,” which integrates with your Google account. This Google Super Vote allows you to easily use Google to vote for your favorite contestant (or spread the votes among the contestants as you see fit) up to 20 times by just moving a slider back and forth and hitting a submit button. Long gone are the days in which you would have to physically dial a phone number, only to be on the receiving end of a busy signal, forcing you to redial until you actually get through, taking about 30 minutes to submit one vote for one contestant. While this new Google Super Vote is easier, it takes some of the passion of voting for someone you absolutely love on American Idol away. The less work you’re putting in, the less exciting it is to see someone you’ve invested so much time and energy into moving through to the next round. This is just my humble opinion and a hypothetical attribution to why American Idol has suffered a loss in ratings and demo size, but I digress.
Questlove’s SXSW Revelation
For my generation, I have found that finding new and exciting ways to consume alcohol have become a large part of pop culture. Going to a bar or club just doesn’t cut it anymore. Whether you have to work hard to attain a password to a 1920s-style speakeasy or you have to complete a 15k in order to earn a beer (which, I mean, is very weird to me), there are a variety of ways one can enjoy an alcoholic beverage these days. One of the newest and most popular ventures are the moving tandem-bicycle bars. This new trend in which the attendees sit at a bar with bicycle pedals for each participant that power the bar to move from place to place. Recently, Questlove (of The Roots and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon fame) Instagrammed a photo of said bicycle bar at SXSW sponsored by Hootsuite. With Hootsuite’s visibility at SXSW, a large digital media and pop culture multi-day festival which launched the likes of Twitter and Instagram, they have found themselves in the midst of a pop culture paradise.
Live Hashtags on TV Shows
Have you ever been watching a television show, and suddenly a suggested hashtag pops up in the corner? A show that does this masterfully is the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars. Pretty Little Liars is a juggernaut pop culture phenomenon in and of itself, and when you add effective social media integration to the mix, it makes for an exciting thing to watch. During fresh episodes of PLL the marketing and publicity teams at ABC Family huddle in a conference room to tweet live with fans.
“From a very top level perspective we talk about Twitter being the new water cooler,” said Danielle Mullin, the network’s vice president of marketing.
Liz Myers, in the TV Partnerships division at Twitter, said hashtags “can pinpoint moments, drive voting (on a competition series), create content” and offer insight into how to later talk about a show.
One of the primary benefits of using hashtags during television shows and engaging your audience is to encourage viewers to watch it live, as opposed to waiting to watch on your DVR. Mullin said she believes tweets can “play into this phenomenon of FOMO – fear of missing out. When you’re on Twitter and your entire feed is people talking about something, if you’re not watching you start to feel left out.”
Transforming Movie Marketing
Digital marketing is doing nothing short of transforming traditional movie marketing. From Hunger Games to The Dark Knight to Hot Tub Time Machine, movies are using viral aspects of digital marketing to garner significant interest to put up strong box office numbers. Prior to launching a full-fledged marketing campaign for The Hunger Games, they created a vast virtual world for fans to explore, learn more about the tributes and participate in conversations.
One of the coolest and most popular ideas is to create an identity for a primary character by building a digital presence for them online. Before and after Ted, the lovable, foul-mouthed teddy bear, hit the big screen, you could find him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube making the character jump off the screen and engage with his audience.
Pop Culture & Digital Marketing Are Synonymous
After exploring a very limited look into how digital marketing is pervasive in all aspects of pop culture, you can see how important it is to use digital marketing when launching a brand of any kind, whether its an artist, television show, movie or trend. I like to use these examples when a business owner likes to say that he or she doesn’t need digital marketing. These large, unstoppable movie studios and television networks know that they need digital marketing to make their product a success, so why would it be any different for your brand?