Celebrating Milestones with a Bang (or a TARDIS woosh)

I have a confession to get off my chest . . . . I am a Whovian and proud of it! And while the 50th year anniversary Doctor Who episode would have been enough to capture my (and millions of others’) attention, the marketers over at the BBC know how to make the most of this once in a lifetime event.

doctor who 50

I cannot get enough of Doctor Who. And like millions of other people around the world, at 6.50am on Sunday morning I was glued to the television taking in the 50th year anniversary episode of Doctor Who. But those marketers at the BBC know what they are doing because they did three things to make the special Doctor Who episode even more special for Whovians such as myself.

1.       ‘Doctor Who: Starring You’

Every Doctor Who fan has a secret dream to be the fourteenth incarnation of Doctor Who. He can time travel, he has a very impressive TARDIS (despite its faults) and he gets to go around saving the world – plus, who doesn’t love a fez? Upon recognising this, the clever people at Doctor Who HQ created a program allowing every fan to create a personalised set of opening credits. This video reshaped the credits into the form of an invitation to tune into the anniversary episode which you could then share with all your friends on Facebook.

Not only were loyal fans allowed to create the opening credits of their dreams, but they also then promote the 50th anniversary episode to all their friends with a personal endorsement!

2.       Pop-up Store

This is a special added extra for the people of Melbourne. After great success with a pop-up Doctor Who store in Sydney last year, the BBC decided to reprise this concept in Melbourne during the month of the anniversary. Running lots of competitions around its opening and the landmark episode while also selling exclusive Doctor Who merchandise, this store allowed brand loyal fans to immerse themselves in the Doctor Who brand stocking up on special souvenirs to celebrate this milestone.

(If you hurry, the shop should still be open for a few more days unless they completely sell out!)

3.       Simulcasting Across The World

Finally, the group mentality is very powerful in marketing. One of the common reasons that we prefer to engage with one product over the other is to feel ownership to a certain group. This isn’t any different when it comes to television.

Usually Doctor Who fans in Australia are behind the UK when it comes to becoming part of the in-crowd who can discuss the latest episode because the ABC doesn’t air them at the same time. And like most imported television shows, the lag time before an Australian airing can be rather significant. But not with this special episode!

It was aired at the same time across the entire globe (leading to many hypotheses that it was actually a ploy by a mechanical alien to get us all watching our televisions at the same time so they could take over the world!). This is important because it allows fans who are usually out of the loop to become part of the in-crowd, allowing them to take part in the online hysteria in the lead-up and aftermath of the episode.

While this has a number of benefits for the fans, it also means that consumers are legally engaging with the product rather than illegally downloading it to stay up-to-date with the in-crowd and the BBC is encouraging much larger numbers to add to the online hype.

All in all, a pretty convincing argument to stream shows across the world at the same time!

Congratulations Doctor Who. Some pretty awesome strategies to increase audience involvement that certainly paid off with the amount of time Doctor Who spent trending on Twitter yesterday afternoon!