APOCALYPSE LIVE

ClientRTL2 FERNSEHEN GMBH & CO. KG AND FOX NETWORKS GROUP GERMANY GMBH
Category C08. Innovative Use of Social Media
TitleAPOCALYPSE LIVE
Product/ServiceLAUNCH OF NEW SEASONS OF THE WALKING DEAD IN GERMANY
Entrant ACHTUNG! Hamburg, GERMANY
Idea Creation ACHTUNG! Hamburg, GERMANY
PR ACHTUNG! Hamburg, GERMANY
Production ACHTUNG! Hamburg, GERMANY
Credits
Name Company Position
Klaudius Nowak Medien- und Filmproduktion redpinata Executive Producer
Holger Frick Superama Film Production GmbH Director
Katrin Kilianski achtung! GmbH Social Media Director
Lars Joseph achtung! GmbH Creative Director
Anika Kruse achtung! GmbH Junior Account Manager
Christian Heeren achtung! GmbH Art Director
Natalie Malczuk achtung! GmbH Art Director
Christian Nienaber RTL2 Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG Executive Vice President Digital
Carlos Zamorano RTL2 Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG Executive Vice President Marketing & Communications
Kristina Wiesner RTL2 Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG Vice President Marketing Creation & Advertising
Karin Zipperling FOX NETWORKS GROUP GERMANY GMBH Director Marketing & Creative Services
Stefan Wenhart FOX NETWORKS GROUP GERMANY GMBH Digital Marketing Manager

The Campaign

A remarkable idea was needed. Something unique, that had never been done before to wow the fan community. So RTL II and FOX used a totally new, untested technology. The Idea: APOCALYPSE LIVE – the world’s first interactive Facebook live game. Two YouTube stars, abandoned in a barren wasteland, surrounded by zombies. Their fate is streamed live on Facebook. And the users decide what the two should do – in real time using the Facebook reaction buttons. The team changes the plot in seconds flat – in just the way the users want, also on the basis of the Facebook comments.

Execution

The two YouTube stars suddenly find themselves in a barren wasteland in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The zombies attack them in a ruined building and they have to escape – but where to? Jarow and Kurono broadcast themselves and their situation live on Facebook. The premier: their destiny is put into the hands of the audience that joins the Facebook live broadcast. During the two-piece broadcast, the viewers use the Facebook reaction buttons to intervene and control the game in real time. For example, for one of the protagonists decisions the “heart” stands for “fight together”, while the angry smiley stands for “sacrifice Kurono”. The users decide what happens next. A 50-member team of director, camera people, technicians, etc., change the scenario depending on how the fans vote, in seconds flat. The main characters also respond to Facebook comments in real time.

The first part of the interactive Facebook live game is such a success that some users already suspect a pre-produced fake. But then, right before the second part of the adventure, a zombie bites through the feed cable – or at least that’s what the entertaining crisis communication says. The second part has to be postponed. The fans are going crazy: What’s happened? When’s it starting again? The result: even more buzz. Because of the supposed breakdown, reach increases tenfold. The second part starts with one-day delay and that is exactly what makes it an even bigger success. The live game exceeded all expectations: More than two million live views. A live engagement of 100,000. And a total reach of about 100 million. But best of all – THE WALKING DEAD continued to captivate audiences on RTL II and broke viewing records again for FOX, now being the most successful series.

The Situation

APOCALYPSE LIVE owes its success to the enthusiasm that the live game ignited purely in earned media. It was the community dynamic alone that has set off a social media buzz. Already the regular announcements on the Facebook channels of RTL II and FOX were shared by the community and increased the anticipation. The event itself was divided into two parts to extend the enthusiasm. In addition, the two biggest fan pages for THE WALKING DEAD on Facebook were actively involved in the reporting. And the two popular YouTube stars brought their fan base along.

The Strategy

On Facebook Germany alone there is an extremely active and passionate fan base of 1.5 million fans. They are already in close contact with the American serial-makers and actors. So it needs a great amount of sensitivity to reach this demanding target group. The considerations resulted in the strategy, to make the two leading fan pages on Facebook to live reporters of the game. To reach out to new fans on the social web the live game is announced on Facebook and YouTube like a TV spectacular. Consistent with the target group RTL II and FOX allure YouTube stars for their live game. Jarow and Kurono together have over two million subscribers whom they bring along with them, so to speak. But also in terms of tonality and authenticity, RTL II and FOX have made the right choice.