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Virgin Media TV launch of ‘Supernatural’ on LIVING

Virgin Media TV launch of ‘Supernatural’ on LIVING

Best practice from Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

‘Supernatural’ had been a successful show on ITV2 for four seasons. LIVING, a smaller subscription channel, has now bought the series.

Our challenge was to migrate this audience to LIVING and use ‘Supernatural’ to fuel viewing of similar shows.

Our key insight was that Supernatural has obsessive fans who live and breathe their passion in online blogs and forums but not in the real world.

This led to our strategy - to share their obsession. We had to tap into their existing online behaviours and prove to the hardcore fans that we were as fanatical about Supernatural as they were – that we loved the paranormal mystery, we understood the complex plot and even the show’s in-jokes.


We devised an Alternate Reality Game and a virtual online community – even drafting in the show writers to keep the experience authentic. We were meticulous in detail and used actors from the show to film bespoke video clips. We offered the ultimate prize for a hardcore fan – a walk-on part in season 6!

The game was a nationwide treasure hunt – we hid 25 unique symbols in the national press, online, in blogs, within LIVING TV shows and in several real world locations, including cemeteries and haunted buildings. Using your mobile phone, players took photos of the symbols and would MMS the image to our shortcode. SnapNow technology recognized the symbol and updated their score.

To prove our obsessive knowledge of the show, we created special build posters, online viral videos and made Marble Arch look like the Gates of Hell using 3D projection technology.

Results and Effectiveness

Blogs and forums raved about our activity with hundreds of glowing comments.  Fans even made their own Facebook page for players who mourned the loss of the game and incredibly, they had T-shirts made to say they competed! We had proved our obsession.

The show out-performed ITV2 and is still growing. 29% of viewers had not watched LIVING for 6 weeks before ‘Supernatural’ premiered, but many have now gone on to watch other LIVING shows of a similar genre.
Supernatural’s success, has secured €1.5m in additional advertising revenue and has brought in a lucrative younger audience to LIVING.

For more in depth insight play the video below.

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