Last week social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ exploded in frothy discussion typically reserved for Egyptian government protests or celebrity gossip. The culprit: a low-budget cable-only movie about killer sharks spinning in a tornado.
Once I moved past the absurdity of Sharknado, I grew curious about why this made for cable fare from the SyFy network would generate such a social following. According to SyFy, 111,000 people tweeted 318,232 times during the broadcast.
Plus, I began a search to understand the business case for SyFy network to invest $1M+ to produce such foolishly titled and plotted films. I discovered answers in this wonderful article in BusinessWeek entitled “Inventing Sharknado: Inside SyFy’s Booming B-Movie Factory.”
So…here it is…three lessons corporate marketers can glean from the terror of Sharknado:
1. A sound business strategy informs decisions. SyFy got into the movie making business a decade ago when the straight-to-video market dried up. They needed content to remain viable and recognized it was more economical to fund production directly.
2. When audience and topic appropriate, it’s absolutely OK to embrace the absurd. Creativity comes in a myriad of flavors. The executives at SyFy define their strategy as “ridiculously entertaining” and recognize their primary audience (males aged 54+) grew up on silly monster movies.
3. Know who you are and stick to it. SyFy does not have the financial resources to produce high end content like HBO or Cinemax. So they don’t. They stay true to their strategy and focus on catering to a specific market niche.