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For Your Consideration - Raising the Bar for Emmy Campaigns

Amy Meyer, Creative Planning Director at FRUKT L.A., lifts the lid on marketing innovations over in L.A. in the run up to the Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmys air on September 20th but Los Angeles has already been abuzz with FYC, or For Your Consideration, campaigns.

In promoting TV shows for Emmy nominations, traditionally studios have relied heavily on OOH advertising as shown on The Daily Billboard blog, ads in trade publications like “Variety”, physical mailers of DVDs, like the one shown on Gold Derby from HBO, and Q&A panels to promote their shows, such as those at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

This voting season, however, studios went above and beyond to develop creative campaigns to encourage the 18,000 members of the Television Academy to nominate their shows for an Emmy (voting ended on June 26th and the nominations are announced on July 16th). This is a sign of the times and the ever-increasing innovation and creativity behind television programming (and its marketing).

For the last two months, Tinseltown saw a plethora of stunts to garner Emmy nominations. Here are just a few of the most innovative campaigns.

Amazon’s “Transparent” wallpapered single-stall bathrooms in restaurants around LA with gender-neutral signage. This stunt to turn gender-specific bathrooms into gender-neutral ones was in in support of the show’s message to be one’s authentic self. The campaign even included a hashtag to #BeTransparent.  

Netflix also had a very large Emmy campaign this year, with billboards and ads all over town and a wide range of content in its mailers. One of its more unexpected stunts, however, was to sponsor free classes (and give out free water bottles) at popular, premium SoulCycle spin studios in LA (in areas heavy with industry execs, such as West Hollywood and Santa Monica). This inspirational, inclusive partnership was especially appropriate for the messaging behind the streamer’s show, “Orange is the New Black”. 

A third interesting approach to FYC marketing was that of the “The Mindy Project”, which partnered with Neiman Marcus to display costumes from its show in store windows. This concept built on the attention that “The Mindy Project” has received for costume design in the show. The program was then heavily promoted on social media, such as Mindy’s own Instagram feed. It was a completely unexpected way to approach a FYC campaign, but again, reached the target audience in a smart, brand-focused manner.  

The beauty in each of these campaigns was that they were not only unique and on-brand for the shows they advertised, but they caught the audience’s attention in a targeted manner (and in places where they spend their time). Another important element to note is that they reached everyday consumers, who are becoming increasingly aware of the shifts in the media landscape.

The greater innovation for Emmy nominations comes on the heels of an overall improvement in television innovation in general (in terms of content and formats). Many industry professionals claim that television now rivals feature film. This year’s Emmys FYC season supports this claim and shows that the bar will continue to be raised on all fronts for TV, including both the shows themselves and their marketing.

The gist? Television will continue to increase in sophistication. It will continue to rival film for our attention. And its awards seasons and marketing campaigns will continue to be more creative, eye catching and engaging. Get ready to be entertained.