How to advertise to super-fans
CBS Action is airing Star Trek: The Next Generation in the UK this summer, and wanted to let fans know that they are *the* home of TNG in the UK. London’s Studio Hansa created a campaign that spoke directly to the show’s core audience, and gave a 20+ year-old franchise a bold new look. Here’s how they did it, and what you can do to reach super-fans.
1. Don’t make fun.
Star Trek‘s ardent fans have been the butt of TV and movie jokes for years. To many of them, the word “Trekkie” is derogatory. This campaign avoids the “T-word” altogether, and all other cliches associated with Star Trek loyalists. If this billboard featured a line of convention-goers in Spock ears, the general non-Star Trek-watching public may have gotten a laugh, but would fans tune in?
2. Get the details right.
Studio Hansa know that Star Trek fans are “truly passionate, knowledgeable, fervent collectors of all things to do with the show,” and that the campaign had to get everything right. The doctor above is half-dressed as LeVar Burton’s character, Geordi La Forge. If the model’s Geordi side didn’t have a flat top, or a yellow shirt, fans would have noticed. The Picard model is a spitting-image of Patrick Stewart, even down to the hairline:
If you want a super-fan to take you and your ads seriously, you need to take their passion seriously. Get it right.
3. Make fans look cool.
Forget the pocket-protectors and taped-up glasses of yore. Today’s fans aren’t yesterday’s geeks. Less Revenge of the Nerds and more Chris Hardwick.
Don’t portray super-fans out the way Hollywood sees them, but how they see themselves. What they like is really, really cool, and they’re cool for liking it.
4. Speak the right language.
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” “I’ve looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw was beautiful.” “Reducto!” These quotes may sound like gibberish to you, but to fans of Star Wars, LOST, and Harry Potter, these lines are loaded with meaning. Use that to your advantage when writing copy. Don’t use tired language like “tune in for the premiere” when the show you’re promoting has its own lingo. “Tune in” becomes “Go Boldly.” “Premiere” becomes “Launch Date.” Studio Hansa could have probably gotten away with adding a line or two of Klingon, too.
5. Embrace the fandom.
A die-hard fan is one of the best marketers your brand can have. Don’t stigmatize the fandom, embrace it. Love your brand’s fans and encourage them to love their “fan side.”
Wanna see more of this TNG campaign? Check out Studio Hansa’s site for more posters and behind-the-scenes making-of video.