After a show is banished to the depths of television hell (i.e., cancellation), how do you dust off the ashes and revive it for a new network? By giving the rabid fanbase that saved the series exactly what they want.
That was the creative approach of Netflix's social campaign for the series relaunch of fan favorite Lucifer.
As Netflix prepared for the series relaunch, it worked with hi5.agency, which went deep into the commonly treacherous land of fan chats to learn the not-so-secret desires of the Lucifer fanbase. It turns out they were quite primal.
"It started off with a lot of social conversation mining across Twitter and Reddit," Allan Gungormez, head of strategy at hi5.agency, tells Muse. "We wanted to know what this fanbase actually wanted. We identified a handful of things, but the No. 1 thing every fan wanted to see was [lead actor] Tom Ellis' butt."
No joke. And Netflix went with it. They created a fun social video giving fans almost everything they wanted.
"Even though you're approaching a project from a fan-first mentality doesn't mean you can't still create high-quality creative," says Gungormez. "It doesn't need to feel like 'fan made' creative—in fact, this audience has had to do that on their own for too long. There's real value in quality when you're creating it with fans' tastes in mind, and the engagement and reception we saw from the audience really proved that."
Fans went nuts when they realized their desires were coming to life. Netflix and hi5.agency kept the fun going by creating the short piece below, which mocks every slow-mo female pool exit. Notice the 666 tattoo on Tom Ellis' hip? That was their clever announcement of 666 hours until the show would be released.
As they inched closer to the premiere, the creative team ensured everyone was caught up on the previous three seasons of Lucifer (which had lived on Fox). They went to the devil himself, who recapped the series in three minutes, driving audiences wild with every slithering word and enticing new fans with his tales of forbidden fruit.
After the release of the trailer and key art, Netflix continued listening to fans' appetites and satisfying them when they could. Fans asked for a first look, and Netflix gave them one. Fans laughed about Lucifer's recurring admission that he's the devil in the series. Netflix laughed along with fans by putting out a compilation video of all the times he's admitted he's Lucifer. And when fans celebrated about the cast getting back together, Netflix took it a step further and made a reunion special.
The creative efforts didn't stop there. To truly celebrate their role in reviving the series, cast members invited fans worldwide to attend the premiere party by hosting it live on Twitter. And it was a hell of a success.
From tutorials on "How to Speak Demon," to an ongoing thread highlighting every butt shot in the series, to hearing Tom Ellis read Thirst Tweets on BuzzFeed, Netflix went the distance for fans.
"It takes a lot of confidence to create a fan-led, social-first marketing campaign designed to super-service the LuciFans that literally saved the series," says Gungormez. "Simply put, it shows that Netflix values what people want and are willing to give it to them, rather than create a campaign around what they think fans should want.
we found the timecodes of every 🍑 sighting in season 4 just for you. you're welcome. #lucifer— Lucifer (@LuciferNetflix) May 11, 2019
"Lucifer's" Tom Ellis Read Your Thirst Tweets And I'm Sweating https://t.co/DXkDj4u2Of— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) May 10, 2019
In an age where social communities can determine the success, failure or even release of an entertainment property (as we saw with Sonic the Hedgehog), Netflix and hi5.agency took the obvious but too commonly overlooked solution—they listened to their fanbase. And it turned into a devilishly good time.
Lucifer was recently picked up for a fifth and final season on Netflix, and the little devils have started their howling! Your move, Netflix.