FX: THE AMERICANS
SEASON 6 CASE STUDY
The Americans: Social Campaign
FX and STN partnered together to create a strategic & creative plan for the final season of the critically-acclaimed show, The Americans. With this assignment, STN was in lockstep with FX from ideation to execution, creating a comprehensive social & digital promotional campaign as detailed below:
STN was given the challenge of coming up with a comprehensive social plan for the sixth and final season of the highly-regarded series, The Americans.
Competing against other creative teams, STN came out on top by providing strategic guidance, an out-of-the-box creative look & feel and unique concepts for pre-premiere to post-finale content.
The goal of the campaign narrative was to entice loyal viewers and those who may have fallen away from regular viewing to watch the final season with the promise that the Jennings family would face dire choices and potential consequences for their actions.
The campaign centered around one central question:
What will be the ultimate fate of the Jennings' family?
STN meticulously put together a strategy deck that included the central themes of the final season of the show:
- The Reckoning
- Acceptable Losses
- Loss of Ideals
- Psychological Conflict
- Fear of Discovery
The approach included an all-encompassing strategy for execution on all social platforms and throughout the detailed campaign.
The campaign was built to cover 4 key time periods in relation to the season:
Some of the cornerstones of the campaign that we wanted to emphasize were:
Develop a visually appealing look and align with the show’s beautiful key art
Maximize engagement with the show’s vocal fanbase by keeping the conversation going throughout the series and after the finale
Increase overall tune-ins by building excitement leading into the season and before each episode
THE NITTY GRITTY
Within the strategy deck, we outlined specific concepts and ideas that would be included within each phase of the campaign. All of the ideas included the selected theme(s) for each concept and rough mock-ups for visual representation. Please reference the full pitch here:
AN ALLIANCE FORMED
STN traveled to FX’s offices to present the pitch. During the session, STN and FX collaborated on changes to the overall strategy and deliverables which paved the way for what would become the official Season 6 campaign for The Americans.
Following the meeting, STN established a full preseason posting calendar along with suggestions on how to drive high engagement with new and existing followers. The detailed publishing schedule consisted of recommendations on when to post, where to post and what to post in order to capitalize social performance.
THE OPERATION BEGINS
With the framework in place, the mission was under way. STN spent time establishing a social look and feel for the campaign which was launched on The Americans' social handles with the Lead Up campaign.
Lead Up Content
To kick-off the final season, FX re-introduced fans and potential new viewers to previous key storylines to encourage speculation for what is to come. The content created conversation about possible conclusion scenarios and also began to create buzz and excitement for the coming final season.
Facebook 360 Timeline
STN wanted to lean in on the face that The Americans' audience on Facebook is larger than that of Twitter or Instagram. With that in mind we wanted to provide a unique way to refresh fans what has happened previously on the show. Turning a timeline into a 360 visual was a way of turning what could be an otherwise stale concept into an interactive experience.
Flickering Family Photos
Bringing years of secrets and lies to the forefront, this punchy, thought-provoking motion graphic jumped off social feeds and illustrated the internal struggle each character was facing.
Capitalizing on the mystery of what will happen to the Jennings family, FX asked fans to speculate about some of the outstanding questions impacting the key characters in the show. Unanswered questions were posted in tandem with mini trailers to further emphasize show themes that would be touched on in the final season.
These short trailers highlighted show themes, built tension and reinvigorated fans for the upcoming season. Clips from the show's first 5 seasons were selected to highlight ongoing storylines which needed to be resolved. The trailers established visual effects that would become themes for social creative throughout the season.
THE OPERATION CONTINUES
As the campaign progressed, momentum continued to build leading to premiere night and then into the season. With strong content that performed well across the board, FX saw high fan engagement on social channels, especially as drama built throughout the season.
Premiere Night Content
On premiere night, FX leveraged unique, engaging content to build on the existing lead up campaign and expand awareness of the new season beginning. This content was developed to drive tune-ins and emphasize the show prestige. As excitement continued to build towards the series conclusion, FX invited fans to act as the eyes of the investigation.
TV Playback Series
Using the look and feel from season 5, episode 13 [17:30 mark] this creative emphasized the positive critical reception the show has received. In addition, this series of graphics created a sense of urgency for fans to avoid missing out on the experience that is watching The Americans.
Capitalizing on the already-established show art, STN leveraged an esthetically pleasing visual to showcase Elizabeth and Philip and their impending spiral towards their ultimate fate.
In Season (Weekly) Content
The in-season strategy was developed to drive the conversation throughout the week prior to and after episodes aired. Content was created to be visually appealing and stand out on social feeds, but also develop intrigue and speculation about what the posts mean. STN also provided weekly suggestions for social polling topics and imagery.
The scene reflection series was designed to be a unique take on the popular cinemagraph. Still images from new episodes were used and juxtaposed with scenes from previous episodes to show how the plot has progressed.
The refresher series was released the day prior to a new episode to help remind fans about what happened in previous episode as well as give a sneak-peak at the next episode. The refreshers were created for Instagram Stories and added the unique element of polling to drive conversation about what fans thought about what's to come.
STN created a new and unique way to give fans a glimpse of the next episode while being visually captivating and in line with overall themes of the show. Using static imagery from the next week's episode, STN added graphic elements to seem as though the viewer is "spying" on the main subject(s) in the image.
STN developed several quote graphics which were used throughout the season to highlight big moments from past episodes. These graphics focused on the main characters from the show and often showcased turning points in the storyline.
GOING OUT WITH A BANG
Postseason (Finale) Content
Following the finale, FX summarized the final series with a review of major plot points, resolutions and what happened with the central characters of the show. In addition we wanted to focus on dedicated and hardcore fans and ask them to actively participate with us by sharing their reactions.
When approaching the much anticipated finale, STN created a long form video juxtaposing the scene from Season 1, Episode 1 where Stan meets the Jennings with many "flashes" of crucial parts throughout the show. This asset helped to build excitement for the final conclusion of their story.
With the finale a week away, STN developed a series of videos counting day the day when the finale airs and the Jennings' fate is finally revealed. Mixed with the standard "X DAYS AWAY" text were key scenes that reveal the potential conclusion.
Fan Reaction Prompt
In an effort to encourage fan involvement during the live finale, STN created the idea to ask fans to submit their live reactions for the chance to be featured. In addition to this static graphic, FX had Holly Taylor (Paige) and other crew members record themselves asking fans to submit responses.
Fan Reaction Video
The day after the finale aired, STN audited the content posted by fans using the hashtag #TheAmericansFinale. This video showcases a variety of responses that reveal the emotions of fans and how truly meaningful the show was to many people around the world.
Tweet Reaction Motion Graphic
Although STN & FX did not originally plan to execute a tweet reaction graphic, when auditing the video reactions we realized the text-only reactions from fans were overwhelming. Many people expressed their love for the show, cast and full team involved. This look and feel aligned with the overall campaign and really stood out on The Americans' social channels.
In order to keep the conversation going, STN created multiple poll graphics to prompt fans to discuss what they believe happened to the key characters from the show following the finale. Despite being a simple static graphic, tons of fans commented and kept the Stan and Jennings family alive.