Nothing erases the memory of a horrific fall season like a huge midseason hit. And that’s exactly what Fox has on its hands with Empire, which is the number one new show this season in adults 18-49 and has grown its audience three weeks in a row, instead of slowly losing viewers as most new series do.
While the show has connected powerfully with African-American viewers, its success is in large part due to Fox’s elaborate, months-long marketing campaign. Those behind it, including Fox COO Joe Earley and Fox Television Group co-CEO Dana Walden, walked me through the marketing strategy for this Adweek deep dive. As I wrote, Walden quickly identified the show as her top priority for midseason :
As incoming co-CEOs of Fox Television Group, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, tried to piece the network back together late last summer, they decided that Empire would be the focus of its midseason efforts, just as they had centered on Gotham in the fall. “When they started, Dana and Gary immediately made it the No. 1 priority for midseason,” Earley said. “They authorized augmenting the marketing campaign because, honestly, it was under-budgeted. They said, ‘It’s too important; we have to do it right.’ That allowed the really creative marketing team to do execution they couldn’t have otherwise.”
Read on for much more information about the promotional key art, tie-ins, VOD push, social media strategy and how ad buys jumped with each ratings increase — and how Empire’s early renewal for Season 2 has set in motion even grander plans.
This was my first marketing campaign deep dive for Adweek, and it was a treat getting to focus on this side of the industry.