HBO Executes Viral Marketing Campaign for Flight of the Conchords ‘Fansterpiece’ Video Contest

I came across a viral branding website yesterday for a popular television show on HBO, Flight of the Conchords. The TV show is about two men that live in NYC doing sketch comedy and singing their comedic folk songs inside a once a week half-hour show that looks at the everyday happenings of the two main characters, Bret and Jemaine

The idea.

Take a concept of the brand and distinguish it as a ‘sensation’. I know that might sound complicated – but it’s really so easy, and I don’t understand why other companies aren’t utilizing their ‘usable’ assets for something similar.

This is exactly what the Flight of the Conchords are doing with their new micro-site – “Lip Dub Video Fansterpiece.” The concept is to learn the lyrics of one of the songs the two main characters sing, and then you are supposed to videotape yourself lip-synching the song, and then upload it to the website – where you might be added to a final “Fansterpiece” that will air on HBO. This content is being advertised only on social channels, and is completely viral – meaning this is not having any media or TV dollars spent on the campaign.

The contest was launched in mid-November, and will last until the new season of the show starts in mid-January.

Simple. Simple. Simple.

I can’t get over how simple this is, but how effective it has become. They don’t give away any lavish prizes, you don’t win a trip to any special destination or big lump sum of money – just about 10 seconds of a small amount of fame.

At the same time, they do a great job of implementing bookmarks or sometimes referred to as chicklets. These are the type of calls-to-action that include the ability to post the “contest” to Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Delicious, and you can also email to a friend. These are all tactics in “spreading” the word-of-mouth further into the social networks.

The video service they are using is YouTube, making it ‘free’, as well as very viral! This allows HBO to spread their contest through the social channels with little to zero promotion on their part, which was their full intention.


Since the website launched in mid-November – the main website where they utilize the videos, the YouTube channel that was created for the contest – has seen nearly 8,000 views since the project launched on Nov. 13. I know those numbers are not monumental, but you have to think about the ‘trickle’ down effect from this contest alone.

On the microsite, you also are able to access the Flight of the Conchord’s Facebook and MySpace pages. Their current Facebook page has a more than 245,000 fans, and they have a little over 25,000 friends on MySpace. These channels were setup well before the contest started…but both channels have seen an increase in activity in fans/friends since the middle of last month.

So What?

Well, I tell you this information because it’s important to consider the outreach of a ‘viral’ campaign, such as this one, and what it can do for a brand. Chances are, many people are going to submit videos to try and appear on the channel, and many more people may just watch the videos other people create. Either way, their creating a ‘buzz’ about the show and the new season, interest of not only current fans, but new fans of the show are found through the ability of allowing others to easily spread the contest into the social content networks, such as Digg, Delicious, Twitter, and so on. They attach links to the show’s page on the HBO website, as well as create easy access to the show’s MySpace and Facebook pages.

Through a viral campaign like this, you should explore your brand further to see what kind of similar outreach you may be able to do. This is social media branding 101 friends – don’t take something as small and ‘funky’ as this to be something silly – when in all honesty, they spent next to nothing to engage new fans and current fans of the show – to stay tuned to the new season, maybe buy the DVD, purchase some apparel, or some other Flight of the Conchords related materials. It’s genius.

The point is – you need to think about social media branding if you have not already. Agreed, for some brands social media might not be the way to go – but as they say so often – “don’t knock it before you try it.”

Chances are, I think it will.

For more information, and if you have any questions on viral or social media branding – feel free to contact me @