Last Thursday, the Syfy disaster movie Sharknado 2: The Second One, pulled in an impressive 1.6 million demo viewers and 3.9 million viewers total, in addition to an incredible Twitter presence, proving that the best marketing tool is actually word of mouth.

According to Adweek, Dave Howe, president of Syfy, attributed these recent successes to the marketing and PR teams who found innovative ways to talk up the flick, but noted that its stars got into the game in a big way, too.

“[Lead actor Ian Ziering] has been this incredible one-man publicity machine, which has been wonderful to watch. He has a real vision in terms of what is and isn’t going to work,” Howe said. “He’s very articulate about how you have to treat it like it’s Shakespeare. You can’t wink at it or make fun of it, because that won’t be funny.”

In addition to this, the marketing team also decided to not promote or advertise on any straightforward platforms such as subways or billboards.

“We didn’t spend any money on formal marketing for it,” Howe said. “This was driven by PR and marketing and social media fueling the fire. And then an incredible number of brands got caught up in the fun.”

There was an abundance of product placement in the film, however. For example, at one point in the movie Subway spokesman Jared Fogle can be seen sitting on subway platform, eating a Subway sandwich, in front of a Subway billboard. Brands also set out to protect their investment with some well-timed social media.

Howe went on to add that there was a bit of targeted social media and search placement, but the vast majority of the marketing was word of mouth, with “a year’s worth of stoking the fire with news and tidbits and things that kept the Sharknado fire alive.”

As a result, Sharknado made Syfy the top cable network in primetime, as well as giving it the top telecast in all of TV on Thursday.
Source: Adweek