Shark-Infested Social Media: How Discovery Built Anticipation for Shark Week
With the Olympics coming to a close on the 12th, you’re probably getting nervous about the void you’ll be feeling in your TV programming. Never fear, Shark Week is coming! The week kicks off on a day no other than…you guessed it, August 12th.
If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what that is, well, A) I feel sorry for you, but B) it’s a week-long marathon of shark documentaries and shows on Discovery Channel. And this year’s is guaranteed to be the best yet, because Discovery Channel is celebrating Shark Week’s 25th anniversary.
Forget the most social Olympics, this is going to be the most social Shark Week! This year Discovery Channel has gone above and beyond mastering the web and social media in order to get everyone chomping at the bit for the yearly tradition of a solid week of “jawsome” shark facts and attacks.
You can start out with a live countdown, down to the seconds, until Shark Week with the official countdown. Then there’s the official website. The website includes tons of shark videos, fun games like “Shark Yourself,” and even a 360 shark cam hosted from the “Ocean Voyager” exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
Now we head into those shark-infested social media waters. For months, Discovery Channel has been posting clever “share shark” photos with witty captions on the Shark Week Facebook page. These made excellent snackable, shareable content.
In addition to share sharks, starting 25 days prior to the big week, the SW Facebook page counted down the last 25 years of history one year a day with fun photos of “Chompie” the shark through the years. Chompie was Photoshopped into various scenes, outfits, and other nostalgic tidbits as fans remember Shark Week through the ages. For example, the photo on the left features Chompie dressed up as the Spice Girls in 1996.
Discovery has also taken to twitter in order to launch their own photo meme. Known as PhotoChomping, this meme asks users to put their hands together above their head to make a fin, take a photo, and then post to Twitter with the hashtag, #PhotoChomping. The Shark Week Twitter feed also features tweets brought to fans in the voices of Chompie and his cousin, Sharkzilla.
Discovery also posts their share sharks and Chompie’s polaroid photos on the official Tumblr. That’s not all their Tumblr has to offer, either. The folks over at Discovery use Tumblr to reblog and share fan art, as well as participate in popular internet memes. They also use this platform, in addition to all of the others, to plug exclusive offers on Shark Week merchandise.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Shark Week is also active on GetGlue. In the days leading up to the exciting week, fans can check in on GetGlue to earn stickers and exclusive web offers, like a 10% off coupon for the Discovery Channel store.
As you can see, Discovery Channel has pulled out all the stops to reach as many different people on as many different social media platforms as possible. By doing so, they’ve fostered a “fintastic” relationship with their fans, and will surely be in for a more community-driven, social Shark Week than ever before. Discovery’s expansive social media coverage is proof that if done right, there’s no such thing as your brand being too social.
If you can’t wait for Shark Week, then you can also head over to the Discover Network YouTube channel for some badass morsels of what’s to come next week. For example, this teaser for “Air Jaws Apocalypse”:
Photos courtesy of: david_shankbone, Hani Amir, and the Shark Week Facebook page.
Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+ and Twitter.