Copyright © 2019 Nils d'Aulaire

   CASE STUDY  

WGN America

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Salem

Role: Creative Director / Video Director

Chicago-based TV network WGN America, was launching its first original scripted series Salem, a supernatural period drama from legendary producer Brannon Braga. In order to make this series launch successful, we needed create a devoted group of fans and get them to fully embrace the show before they even see it.

RESULTS
CONNECTING WITH INFLUENCERS

 

The show hadn’t been shot yet, so we had to create something from scratch that would get the attention of targeted online influencers. Our solution was to create a custom video for each recipient with their Twitter handle mysteriously burning, intercut with creepy imagery. These videos were sent from accounts named after the 19 witches killed during the Salem witch trials in 1693; no other branding and no explanation offered. Several weeks later, we revealed the tie-in to the show, and by that time we had everybody’s attention.

CURATING A FAN IDENTITY

Once we had generated some buzz and people were talking about the show, we forged an identity for our new fans, branding them “Heathens.” Both fans and cast members jumped on this term and quickly appropriated it. It quickly became central theme on social, with Goth-singer Marylyn Manson jumping on the #Heathens hashtag. Eventually he became so engaged with the show and its dark world that he rewrote the show’s opening musical theme.

AN ALL ACCESS PASS FOR FANS

We were able to bring the fans and show’s stars and creators closer by filming original content and interviews on set. Additionally, a Twitter Q&A where the cast of Salem answered questions on camera, fueled engagement and brought our community of #Heathens even deeper into the world of Salem.

AN UNCONVENTIONAL VOICE ON SOCIAL

In addition to traditional show and character highlights, we immersed our audience in the dark and violent world of the show with content categories like “Torture Tuesdays” and “Throwback Thursday 1692”.  

 

Manhattan

Role: Creative Director / Video Director

After the success of Salem, WGN America launched a second series, Manhattan, about the team that built the first atomic bomb in Los Alamos in the early 1940s.

We were asked to leverage social media to promote the successful launch of Manhattan and help redefine WGN America as they continued to expand into premium programming.

STRATEGIC CONTENT GENERATION

To cover the breadth of themes explored in Manhattan, we created a library of attention-grabbing content. Going deep into topics like the psychology of lying, the emotional strain on families who were being kept in the dark, and the uncertainty of who would win the atomic race, we went far beyond a history lesson to bring this show and its themes to life.

Roll: Creative Director / Video Director

My team created content prior to show launch, letting early adopters experience tantalizing bits of the show’s world - without making them feel like they were getting a history lesson

After interviewing cast and creators, we created promotional spots that went beyond “behind the scenes” and explored the more nuanced themes in the show

"WOMEN IN WARTIME"

"MAKING MANHATTAN"

Created tons of great social content, including custom propaganda posters, “redacted” character bios, WWII #TBT Historical tidbits and “two truths and a lie” history quizzes

CHARACTER CARDS

CAST INTERVIEWS

We rewarded fans with all-access cast and creator on set interviews. Rather than a traditional interview structure where and interviewer asks questions from off camera, we had cast members interview each other. The natural camaraderie between the actors created a relaxed and spontaneous atmosphere where they felt comfortable sharing some pretty personal moments.

SHORTFORM CONTENT

We created original videos exploring some of the show’s secondary themes, as well as an in-depth behind-the-scenes piece that revealed the technical and creative challenges of bringing this Los Alamos to life.