The Animal Planet special Mermaids: The Body Found is a documentary that first premiered May 27, 2012 (part of Animal Planet’s MONSTER WEEK), and last aired on Sunday, July 15, 2012. Naturally, the title of the documentary triggered controversy, and determined the US National Ocean Service to issue a statement that no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.
As today “Mermaid body found” is one of the top trending topics on the internet, here are five marketing strategies you could derive from this:
1. Be controversial
Nothing triggers attention better than controversial topics. These engage a wide range of personalities and demographics, encouraging people to join the conversation, sharing the news with their friends and social circles, asking for opinions, and so on. Remember however, that controversial topics may also attract not-so-favorable opinions. Keep in mind to keep the conversation polite, and encourage free speech.
2. Don’t deceive your audiences
Although described as a “speculative documentary,” based on some scientific facts, Animal Planet’s “Mermaids: The Body Found” was perceived by a large segment of the public as non-fiction. This determined the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to issue a statement, that no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Did Animal Planet intend to “deceive” audiences. Obviously not, but they were fully aware that their “speculative documentary” would be perceived in different ways by different audiences. The film created a bit of “mass hysteria” with users on Twitter even stating that mermaids are real, but the US government wants to cover up their existence.
3. Create an intriguing teaser
More people watched Mermaids: The Body Found because Animal Planet released the following “teaser” way ahead the show:
4. Use impactful images
Mainly because images are easy to share on social media channels like Pinterest, Facebook and the like, but also because images capture attention easier than words. Mermaids: The Body Found documentary is even more brilliant in this regard, as it uses unconventional depiction of what mermaids might have look like. They are not those stunning beautiful creatures that inspired artists and poets. Their physical appearance according to Animal Planet is more worthy of a horror movie scenario, although they remind a lot of James Cameron’s Avatar characters.
5. Capitalize on your success
Every time you are successful with your marketing strategies, capitalize on this success. Offer your case study to the media, offer your expert insight to those who ask. Be prepared for interviews, and publish the “behind the scenes” feedback on popular social networks to gain more exposure. Animal Planet cut the documentary in themed clips that you can share on Twitter and Facebook, and even embed on your site.