May 14, 2012
In charge of the social presences of massive hit shows like Canal+’s "Bref", Wale Gbadamosi-Oyekanmi’s agency, Darewin, is helping TV go truly social. Here’s how.
Has TV “got” social media yet? For Wale Gbadamosi-Oyekanmi, one thing is certain: social TV can no longer be entrusted to “summer interns”. Hence his agency, Darewin, which handles not only the social presences of hit French comedy show Bref (“So” in English), but also for a growing number of reality and chat shows, hand-in-hand with their producers and broadcasters. He told MIPBlog how.
MIPBlog: How did you get into TV in the first place, and social TV inparticular?
Wale Gbadamosi-Oyekanmi: I started working as a creative executive on hit shows for TV production companies like Endemol or Coyote, and also on digital content for digital platforms such as canalplus.fr. After launching MyPelouse.com, a successful buzz website during the 2010 football World Cup, I was recruited by the international digital advertising agency Buzzman to creatively push forward their PR & social media departement. In 2011, the first social TV campaigns started in France. My combination of both TV and digital skills was seen as a great asset. So I founded Darewin in 2011.
You run the social presences of Bref. How many fans/followers in total did the series have when you took over, and how many now?
> When we started in December, it had just under 1.4 million. The page has now reached 2.6 million fans.
What’s your proudest achievement in social media with the show?
> We created a Facebook application based not only on the show, but also on one of the ideas it defends: the fight against Aids. So we offered fans an exclusive bit of content from the show: limited edition condoms, made by the same (fake) brand as in the show! To get them, fans had to invite as many friends as they could, to join the fight against Aids.
That’s how the app went viral. For 15 days, we had 1 visitor every 2 seconds! Or a total of 700 000 visits. At one point, Facebook shut us down, as they thought such a high traffic volume could only be a spambot attack! We appealed, and they put the app back online five minutes later.
How would you describe your working relationship with the show’s creators/producers?
> Our job is to help provide the best possible content experience to viewers before, during and after the show is on air. We share that vision with creators and producers. Our clients are both producers and broadcasters.
What’s next with Bref in social media terms? Will you be involved in the show’s international rollout?
> Bref’s story can be told, extended or adapted on so many different levels. We are now working on new digital platforms to engage and surprise viewers.
What other shows do you work on, and what lessons have you learned from them?
We successfully worked on You Can Dance, the French adaptation of global hit format So You Think You Can Dance, for NT1 (TF1 group). In February, it was ranked the world’s 2nd-fastest growing entertainment show in social media. And that’s before it even started! The difference we made was that for the first time in TV, anyone could follow the production of an international TV format, in real time.
From the moment production started, we began sharing exclusive and valuable content with dance fans. Bloggers, fans and TV viewers could follow the adventure on Facebook and Twitter, weeks before the show even had an air date!
Months before the show, all the dancers were unveiled on Facebook, the best jury quotes were posted on Twitter. Fans just couldn’t wait to get more and more.
We’ve also worked on a political audition format for a leading French presenter and producer; a new cultural show (Arte’s 28 minutes); and we just signed for Viens partager ma vie (Come Share My Life), a dating format for TMC.
Whatever the show, you have to answer to both the producer and the broadcaster. Doesn’t that clash with the spontaneity social media demands?
> We are a content-focused agency. So we always go onset, attend production meetings, and join post-production sessions. Producers and broadcasters see we speak the same language, we respect their work and understand and values. They reward our efforts by trusting our jugement. So we can freely — but respectfully — interact on their behalf, on social media.
Similarly, social media best practice is to have community management in-house. What advantages does your outsourced model bring? Do your clients have a harder time trusting you than they would an internal team?
> Our clients realise that their online presence can deeply affect their global image. Giving the keys to your social media image to a digital-native summer intern no longer makes sense when it comes to the TV business.
Our agency has the energy, works 24/7 and brings fresh and creative ideas to the table. Those are precious assets.
To what extent would you say the TV industry has ‘got’ social media?
> TV is traditionally a one-way medium. Viewers’ phone calls and text messaging has definitely helped to bring more interaction. But social media totally changes the game.
Our agency helps broadcasters and producers integrate that change into their content by bringing more engagement and interaction. And that integration should start as early in the production or pitching process as possible. But let’s not forget: for us, content is king, and conversation is queen.
What will be the biggest challenge social media presents the TV industry with in coming years? Connected TV? Integrating social feedback into shows (cf. Tony Wang’s political show example at MIPCube)? Something else?
> A couple of the biggest challenges are :
- Monitoring and measuring the impact of social TV on TV ratings
- Finding a new business model suitable for advertisers.
To this second point, the war for the viewer’s attention in the living room is on, between the TV, tablets, computers and mobile. Noone knows who the winner will be yet: but that will clearly be key to social TV interactions moving forwards.