It seems a long time ago that TV viewers simply watched their favorite shows. If they did talk about them it was around the water cooler the next day. Remember this?
It was a mere seven years ago that HBO still marketed the talk value of its shows by suggesting it was a boon for the water cooler industry. Now, of course, any conversation or debate about a hot show takes place online. In real time.
Perhaps more dramatic is the degree to which brands have invited, encouraged and inspired not only the conversation, but greater involvement. Again, this represents remarkable change from just a few years ago.
In 2008 AMC went after both Twitter and the users who had hi-jacked the shows characters on the new micro-blogging service. Eventually the network came to its senses and realized that maybe it was a good thing to let enthusiastic supporters spread the word and build buzz for the new show.
Today hashtags, consumer blogs, and network sites make TV a full blown social and community experience. So it’s no surprise that Orange is the New Black has invited fans to create art work for an upcoming campaign. What is surprising is how good and simple some of the entries have been.
For instance, take Alex’s glasses. Black frames on the orange background is virtually all the branding you need. If you’re a viewer and you get it you smile. If you’re not, you wonder what it’s all about and that level of involvement leads you to believe you must be missing out on something.
It’s possible that when the art work becomes actual billboards that Netflix will add words, logo, etc. But the fact is it’s not even necessary. This clean approach would create more of a buzz. And given that most of the other images are realistic interpretations of the characters, it’s enough to be interesting, which is the first and most important objective for any ad campaign.
Could any TV show generate such instantly recognized brand executions from amateurs and fans? Probably not. But with a name comprised of colors, Orange is the New Black jumpstarts the art direction for you.
Perhaps this is something all brands should keep in mind with product names, design elements and the use of color if they, too, plan on jumping on the user-generated bandwagon.