Social Media

[Case Study] USA Network Taps Reddit to Promote “The Fall of Sam Axe”

April 19, 2011

Last week, 360i and USA Network launched a promotion for “The Fall of Sam Axe,” which premiered Sunday night on USA. The film is a prequel to the current hit series “Burn Notice.”


Image via USA Network

Armed with insights into the passionate fan base of the film’s star, Bruce Campbell, 360i took a unique approach to promoting the movie. We tapped Reddit’s community to host a Q&A which allowed Campbell fans to ask him anything for an entire day. The thread shot to #1 on Reddit and drove tens of thousands of clicks to the website for “The Fall of Sam Axe.” Moreover, social conversations around the promotion flourished, achieving incremental buzz for the premiere.

Challenge: We wanted to tap into the unique audience base of the film’s star, Bruce Campbell. Campbell is somewhat of a cult hero, and we wanted to reach his fans in a way that played into their online habits AND allowed them to engage with the movie through their favorite actor. Through this we wanted to raise awareness for “The Fall of Sam Axe” ahead of the premiere on Sunday, April 17.

Strategy: Our strategy was to leverage Reddit, an established niche and rapidly growing social platform to empower fans to engage in dialogue with their favorite actor. The idea was to use the Reddit platform to host a semi-real-time Q&A (called an AMA, or Ask Me Anything) to allow Campbell’s fans to ask him whatever questions they wanted. For an entire day.

The beauty of this was of course that the conversation took place within a hyper-social platform — so as more and more people asked questions, the buzz intensified. People began citing the AMA on Twitter and across other platforms. The effect was a social echo chamber with unprecedented fan enthusiasm that provided real value to Campbell fans and raised awareness for “The Fall of Sam Axe,” not only with this audience, but with a larger group of people in the Reddit/social community as well.

Results: Within 17 minutes of submitting the AMA, the Q&A thread had reached the front page and within the hour it became the #1 article on Reddit homepage. In just 24 hours, more than 4,500 people had commented on the post, earning a Reddit submission score of 2,835. Bruce Campbell’s AMA is now the #3 all-time highest-scoring AMA on Reddit.

The promotional links in the post that drove to the “Fall of Sam Axe” site on usanetwork.com generated nearly 50K hits to the site directly from Reddit. Subsequently, discussions about Bruce’s AMA exploded on Twitter earning 600 tweets and over 522K secondary impressions on Twitter alone. As for ratings, “The Fall of Sam Axe” averaged a 3.6 million viewers — a solid showing during a competitive time slot.