As you may have heard, popular FX comedy series Archer has taken a “Radical Departure” for season 5 going from a subpar spy agency to drug cartel due to Adam Reed’s “boredom”. Although it is a bit of a surprise, it’s not really that shocking when you look a little deeper. Archer is written by one person (Adam Reed) who takes a radical approach in building the storyline through writing for the sake of entertaining the viewer regardless of consistency, logic or anything else that already doesn’t exist in the bizarre world of Archer. Here’s a sneak peek to season 5.
How can they take such seemingly big risks? Because they know their audience. The show is original, it gives the viewer what they want while leaving intrigue. Most importantly though, it’s authentic. Whether you like the show or not it’s hard to deny its success and there’s a lot brands can learn from Archer in creating authentic relationships with their customers. Having a one man team on the writing staff does make a big difference. It keeps the style, nature and humour consistent giving it personality and approachability. Yes, you may not have as wide of a viewership, but instead you trade it for deeper connections with each viewer.
Recently Archer did something that really stuck out, showing they know a lot more about context than even we thought.
To promote the upcoming fifth season, Archer “posted” nude photos of the cast members under Reddit’s /r/GoneWild subreddit.
Funny yes but why is this relevant for brands? Three reasons
1) They understand their audience
pervy? Perhaps. However this “campaign” has generated far more talk and stickiness than any traditional advertisement would have because it’s relatable and grabs the audiences attention in an authentic way.
2) Commit to one direction, from start to finish:
It’s not just in the content that their being authentic but in how they connect with their audience. The show is “inappropriate”, extreme and unconventional so why shouldn’t the advertising and communication be? If your show (or brand) is geared to a certain audience and you’ve taken the time to create something that empathizes with them, naturally the way you communicate to them should be as well. Here’s a quote that supports the relationship to allow for this unconventional approach:
“when we presented FX with this idea we were like, “I hope you don’t hate us but we want to change everything.” And they were coolly like, “OK great. Sounds awesome.” And we’re like, “OK,” which kind of weirded us out because you know you don’t just like change a show in the middle of it.”
What’s important about this is that FX (which could be seen as the CEO or VP of marketing) trusted the guys from Archer (Agencies or creative types) to commit to a direction.
3) Know the context portals:
It’s important to note these revealing photo’s weren’t posts but advertisements on the side banners. What’s important here is that they understand the environment and world of Reddit. They didn’t just make an advertisement but took the time to understand and take the risk to communicate with their viewers in the way people on Reddit do.
So brands, what can you learn if we boil this all down? Be authentic, respect your audience, empathize with them, and stick to one direction.
Hats off you to the team at Archer from GBM