With its giddy mix of gossip, cocktails and celebrity guests ranging from Oscar winners to Real Housewives, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen has amassed an ultra-dedicated fan base since launching in 2009. So when the network decided it was time to grow the show’s already robust viewer engagement, it brought in agency 360i to create a next-level strategy.
To celebrate its singular status as the “only live show in late night,” explained Bravo evp of marketing Ellen Stone, 360i came up with a plan to livestream WWHL’s nightly after-show (which usually airs on BravoTV.com) on a different social platform—Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook—each night for a week in May.
“The show is already a conversation piece and we had an after-show that touched digital that we could amplify. We picked partners and each one brought in a special, unique opportunity to engage the audience differently,” said Stone.
On Reddit, Bravo hosted the platform’s first branded livestreamed Ask Me Anything with “Bravolebrity” Kim Zolciak-Biermann and actress Gabourey Sidibe. Over on Twitter Live, guests Christopher Meloni and Patti Lupone kept things fun (and on-brand) by guessing the diva behind different tweets. For Snapchat, the 360i team designed ads that, when swiped up, took users to a BravoTV.com livestream where guests Jim Parsons and Diane Lane acted out fan-favorite scenes from Bravo’s Real Housewives while Snapchat filters covered their faces.
Not only did Bravo see an uptick in social engagement across platforms as a result of the weeklong “Watch What Happens After” campaign, but it also saw increased traffic to the WWHL website. Unique visitors to the after-show’s landing page spiked to an average of 90 times higher than average for the month of April. Total site visits were also 2.5 times higher per day (51,000) than average (20,000). Overall, the campaign garnered 50 million impressions over the course of the week.
360i and Bravo set out to create five successful live events on five different platforms with different celebrity guests each night of the week. With each execution, the teams needed to make it “feel like we were providing custom creative around each social platform,” said Adam Zeller, vp of social media at Bravo.
Bravo was looking to increase engagement with enthusiastic fans of WWHL in a space where they were already talking about the show—social media—but in a new and different way. The team wanted to leverage different platforms to “amplify the engagement through social media and build a bigger conversation around the show and around Andy,” said Stone.
During the week of May 7, Bravo worked with 360i to create live WWHL after-shows for Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—53 minutes of content in total. On Reddit, the team used live video for the first time during an Ask Me Anything session, while Instagram was employed to capture a live after-party where guests asked Cohen spur-of-the-moment questions to keep the “anything can happen live” vibe alive.
Try new things …
No one had even done a live video component on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything platform before, but Bravo was hungry for social engagement. “Andy is such a friendly personality that he just gets those really great inside moments from our guests, and that, combined with Reddit’s AMA—it was a win-win,” said Stone. The effort drove 17,000 new subscribers to the platform’s TV sub-Reddit, a major win for all partners involved.
… but play to existing strengths
WWHL and its after-show are known for their fun, party-like atmosphere where guests have a cocktail or two while playing games and dishing on hot gossip. Typically, the show holds a wrap party at the end of the week for all the guests, so Bravo decided to stream it live on Instagram during the week of the “Watch What Happens After” campaign. Social influencers including Betches and Girl With No Job made appearances. Stone explained that, in this case, creating something totally new wasn’t the right move; instead, Bravo “amplified a conversation that already existed and just let our audience participate.”
Customize content to the platform
A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to social, according to Stone. The teams at 360i and Bravo had to find fun and exciting ways to leverage each platform. “We married the right content to the right platform and customized it. That’s what gave us the audience engagement and loyalty that we garnered,” explained Stone.