We let a saucy latina actress loose on the streets of Sydney unleashing her devious secrets and devilish ways and causing quite the mess. This 'hidden camera' style footage is hilariously awkward and launched Devious Maids in Australia; a daring, sultry drama set around the cloak-and-dagger lives of five Latina maids.
Background: Universal Channel became part of the basic package of Australia's Pay TV provider Foxtel in January 2014 - dramatically increasing its audience potential. Making its mark out of the dozens of general entertainment channels would not only be dependent on unique programming, but a way of cutting through the television marketing clutter.
Seven months later MediaCom was tasked with launching its new series Devious Maids, at the same time as a number of popular dramas, such as Orange is the New Black were returning to air.
From the producers of Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids is a comedy-drama series set in the mansions of Beverly Hills' wealthiest and most powerful families. Murder and mayhem collide when these maids turn out to be as clever, witty, outrageous and downright devilish as their employers.
Brand Insight: MediaCom devised was that Devious Maids is delightfully scandalous viewing, but word-of-mouth would need to overtake the trailer.
With females, aged 25-45 a primary target for most entertainment-based TV shows, MediaCom had to prove why they should devote their time to another new TV series. In the new on-demand world of video content, simply running a trailer wouldn't do the job alone - especially not with a modest $500,000 budget.
The success of Devious Maids would depend on creating hype and getting people talking about the show in the lead up to the premiere episode. The team was confident that if they could get the target audience watching that, they'd be hooked for the rest of the series.
We live in a time where celebrity gossip rules and often appears on primetime TV news. Salacious tales are sprawled across celebrity news websites, Twitter, Facebook and magazine covers. Men may dismiss gossip as women's tittle tattle, but research suggests it is actually good for you.
For the female target audience, it's not about who you know, it's about what you know. Everyone wants to be one step ahead of the gossip - the first to discover and share on social media.
In real-life as much as in the show, whoever holds the dirt (the gossip) holds the power.
Rather than simply telling viewers what they could expect, the intention was to start gossip and encourage intrigue around the series in a way that reflected the true nature of the show - clever, witty, outrageous and downright devilish.
The communications strategy was to start a rumour about the antics of a rogue Devious Maid out on the streets in Australia.
The idea itself had to be bold, daring and worth sharing - as well as bringing to life what viewers could expect if they watched Devious Maids.
The Idea: Devious Maid gets busted doing dirty deeds
"An Australian maid has been caught in the act, her devious secrets and devilish ways have been uncovered causing quite a mess..."
Universal Channel and MediaCom sent their very own Devious Maid onto the streets of Sydney to cause havoc and play pranks on unsuspecting members of the public. As each reaction was captured on camera the plot thickened, culminating in a fun two-minute video that gave the audience a taste of things to come when Devious Maids premiered on 24th July.
The stunt would be amplified in typical gossip channels: social media and breakfast radio. But the real key was ensuring the stunt was humorous and disruptive enough to inspire its female target audience to talk and share.
They enlisted their own 'real life' Devious Maid. The sassy, seductive and salacious actress reflected the characters and brand voice of the TV show itself. The raven haired South American was let loose on the streets of Sydney wearing a sexy maid's outfit, where she wreaked havoc and tricked the unsuspecting public with her dirty deeds.
Hidden cameras were placed in hidden locations to capture the public's reaction to the Maid's peculiar antics. Rudely interrupting couples at dinner, conspiring to get people to help dispose of a badly disguised dead body and shopping for murder weapons in a hardware store were just a few of the tricks she played.
The pranks escalated and when those that were tricked started to freak out, they were handed a Devious Maids 'calling card', confirming they had been tricked by a Devious Maid, and with details of when they could catch the TV premiere.
The reactions were absolutely hilarious and created the 'must see' and shareable element their video needed.
News of the devilish stunt broke via an integrated radio segment presented by KIIS FM radio royalty, Kyle and Jackie O - no strangers to celebrity gossip and salacious stories. They also filmed their own deviant playing saucy pranks on the Sydney public and further radio spots ran throughout the week leading up the series' TV premiere, fuelling gossip among the female audience who now knew the date and time of the Devious Maids TV premiere.
A social video seeding strategy across YouTube and Facebook gave the video an explosive launch and sustained intrigue leading up to the TV premiere.
The video of the Devious Maid's escapades got a 92 per cent content likeability score and 345,000 views on YouTube. Absolute audience retention data also showed it performed significantly above YouTube averages.
Summary of results:
- Season one of Devious Maids reached 764,300 unique viewers across the six weeks it was on air.
- Amongst People 25-54, the 8:30pm premiere telecast delivered a season average of 20,500 viewers - surpassing its timeslot average by 56 per cent and the primetime average by 95 per cent.
- Devious Maids was a popular Pay TV series among People 25-54 during the time it was on air with Universal ranked #6 out of 67 Pay TV channels (Excluding sport) during the on air timeslot.
- Devious Maids also helped bring new viewers to Universal Channel:
- 36 per cent of the people who turned into the premiere episode not having watched the channel in the previous four weeks.
- Universal Channel rose dramatically to rank #6/89 on the Pay TV platform (excluding Sport) in its main primetime timeslot.
So by getting people talking about the antics of Universal Channel's very own Devious Maid on the streets of Australia, MediaCom not only challenged the dominance of trailer marketing, but it gave Universal Channel the audience it truly deserved.