Shortland Street / Summer Fling

The brief

When New Zealand’s number one soap opera, Shortland Street, ended its 2010 season, thousands of fans were left without their daily fix. We had to keep them hooked until the show returned one month later. How could we leverage this downtime? We had a strong fan base on Facebook but we had to keep their passion for Shorty alive over summer with no new show content to talk about.

The idea

We decided to try something no other soap opera had done before – we invited fans to start an online relationship with their favourite character.

TV ads directed fans to the Summer Fling Facebook app where they found profiles of the characters and interacted with first-person video clips where they met the character face-to-face. Fans then chose who they wanted to ‘hook up’ and they could set up their friends with a fling too.

Summer Fling TVCs

We created a number of TVCs to drive people to the Facebook page. Here’s one of them:

The content strategy

Fans who signed up on Facebook received a stream of flirty messages, pics, videos and even emails from their Summer Fling, personalised for them, as if it was a real life relationship. Each piece of content was carefully crafted to work with the on-air narrative and a comprehensive conversation calendar ensured messages deployed at carefully timed moments throughout summer, coinciding with Christmas and New Year’s Eve, for instance.

By extending the world of Shortland Street on the Facebook platform, we offered fans a highly-personalised, interactive experience with the show. The additional content created an online ‘parallel universe’ for the show that kept fans returning all summer long. Fans participated in constructing the Summer Fling narrative by replying and sharing the content, and even creating their own content in some cases.

The results

Thousands of Facebook fans joined up and they really got into it – replying to messages and posting them on their Walls for everyone to see.
Hundreds of fans replied directly to the emails from their character, as though they were real people. Some fans even created their own photo and video responses.

200% increase in fan interaction on the Shortland Street Facebook page
271% increase in traffic to the page
31% growth in daily ‘Likes’ on the page
50% of our target market tuned in to watch the first episode of Shortland Street in 2011

We were interviewed by Facebook, Palo Alto about the campaign and it was featured in their Creative Showcase.
Click here to read the interview >>

Named one of the 10 Best Facebook Campaigns That Won’t Be Seen in America by Business Insider blog.
Click here to see the article >>


Gold for Best Use of Social Media, Promax Awards, NZ 2011
Best Ad in Interactive Category, Best Ads website, Feb 2011
Finalist in Direct Campaign, Social, Digital/Interactive & Interactive at the CAANZ Axis Awards, NZ 2011
Finalist for Social Media, John Caples International Awards, New York 2011
Finalist for Consumer Marketing Awards, NZ 2011
Finalist NZ Marketing Awards, NZ 2011