How Havas Media Got 1.7 M Doctor Who’s Fans To Celebrate His Birthday For STAR FX

Case study on Doctor Who’s 52nd birthday digital celebrations by Havas Media for Star FX, in which the agency created the first ever digital one-on-one between Indian fans and The Doctor himself

Star FX doctor who

The Client

Star’s English GEC portfolio includes FX. FX is a channel in the English GEC space whose brand promise is “The Edge of Entertainment”. The brand’s proposition is to provide edgy content which stands apart from the run-of-the-mill content seen otherwise. FX has seen a steady growth in ratings starting 2013.

The Agency

Havas Media is a part of the Bollore group. We’re one of the leading global communications and marketing groups with over 60,000+ employees worldwide and headquartered in France. Ours is a simple structure with digital at its core. Our aim is to be the world’s best company at connecting brands with people using creativity, media and technology. As a result we are more agile, nimble and fast as integration to this level speeds up the flow of information. All teams and clients have fast and full access to our specialist knowledge through our range of digital, branded content, experiential and sports brands.

Problem Statement

TARDIS Day – the anniversary of Doctor Who, the 52nd one so far – was one of the biggest events of the year for every Whovian across the globe. This is one of TVs longest running franchises and has a huge fan following to match.

Over the years, Doctor Who has been one of the most appreciated shows across social media, and on this special occasion we wanted to do something memorable for the show’s Indian fans.

Identified Objectives

Conducting the first ever digital one-on-one between Indian fans and The Doctor himself – Peter Capaldi.

The Strategy/execution

Phase I: Build-up

We set the ball rolling by informing active fan clubs on Facebook that something big was coming their way. Staying true to the show’s legacy we told them that here was a chance for them to be the next best thing to a ‘Companion’ – A Doctor Who sidekick. This was done on Twitter as well. The celebrations would begin the next day and they were all invited.

Phase II: #AskDoctorWhoOnFX

On 10th Nov 2015, the #AskDoctorWhoOnFX activity was kicked off on both Twitter and Facebook and the fans were given an opportunity to share with us the questions they’d like to ask The Doctor, Peter Capaldi.

All artwork for this special day was purpose built – ranging from teasers, contest creatives and even the hashtag, #AskDoctorWhoOnFX. Each creative had its own objective, to excite or to gather responses.

PHASE III: Shortlisting the best for The Doctor

We wanted to make sure that Peter Capaldi could answer as many of the fans questions as possible. We looked at shortlisting the most frequently asked questions which asked for Peter’s opinion on something or asked to retell his experiences, while keeping away questions which may have asked for spoilers. This way we made sure that the large percentage of the fans’ questions were heard and answered.

PHASE IV: 23rd Nov, The Big Day

The questions would be answered on air & digital on TARDIS day, 23rd November. We made this day extra special by holding an online contest for fans as a throwback to the 52 years of Doctor Who. The gratification that consisted of Doctor Who collectible comics and miniature TARDIS’ enticed the eager fans.

PHASE V: Peter Capaldi takes over

A special treat for the fans was the TARDIS day wish from The Doctor shared in the form of a video. We made a great day even better by sharing the video to Peter Capaldi’s answers. We were met with thanks from our fans for the activity – something just as delightful as a marketing activity being a success.

While this was happening on digital, on-air #TARDISdayOnFX was celebrated by airing The Doctor Series 9 marathon.

Results

The response we received was incredible! Even in the teaser stage we had fan clubs actively sharing our content and discussions ensued. The engagement we received 24 hours from the first teaser was more than the past 10 days put together. Not only this but the activity collateral was shared more often than all our content for the past 30 days, making this a truly appreciated activity.

  • On Twitter, we saw our activity hashtag #AskDoctorWhoOnFX flood itself on timelines everywhere with 713,330 impressions in just 3 hours. All activities were organic.
  • We received a total of 108 questions from 58 enthusiastic participants from Facebook and Twitter.

This enthusiasm continued till the big day and on TARDIS Day, we received an overwhelming response from eager fans where our hashtag – #TARDISdayWithFX – trended for over 16 hours on a national scale, trumping even the hottest topics of the day.

  • The celebrations saw our hashtag gather over 21.5 million impressions and a reach of 1.7 million, with over 7,000 tweets from 400+ contributors.
  • The TARDIS day wish video from The Doctor, Peter Capaldi received an organic reach of 15,657.
  • The video with Peter Capaldi’s answers received a whopping reach of 72,571 organically.

Observations/lessons

While Doctor Who is popular and has a cult following globally, through this activity we engaged its large number of followers in India as well.

Since this was a first ever digital Q&A between the Indian fans and The Doctor, and since Peter Capaldi answered the top questions himself, this attracted a big audience.

Fans had to come up with questions without aided prompts, as opposed to a quiz where they know exactly what to answer. This resulted in garnering interesting questions.