In U.K., 'Skins' Puts Its Audience in the Picture

Online Community Contributes to Teen Show

Published on .

Brand Owner: E4
Category: Publishing and broadcasting
Region: U.K.
Date: November 2006-March 2007
Media Agency: Naked, OMD
Other Agencies: Holler, C4 Creative Services, 4 Creative
Media Owner: E4, Company Pictures
Media Channels: Mobile, TV, radio, out of home, PR

"Skins" is a unique, home-grown drama on U.K. TV channel E4 about the lives of a group of teens in Bristol. It was written and co-created by teenagers, so it only made sense to get teens involved the marketing for it. The central idea was to create a community that interacts and contributes to the show through user-generated content.
Members of the online community have contributed logos, songs and other content to 'Skins.'
Members of the online community have contributed logos, songs and other content to 'Skins.'

The campaign started building a core community of fans online in November by seeding exclusive content in online communities and through a partnership with MySpace. Above-the-line joined the mix 10 days before the show was broadcast, using the movie-launch tactics of outdoor and print ads.

Members of the online community were invited to star in the trailer and receive regular e-newsletters with exclusive content and information about "Skins." They also were encouraged to contribute to the show via a series of competitions.

The winners of one contest had their versions of the "Skins" logo used on TV and on marketing collateral such as the e-newsletter. A second competition allowed consumers to create a music track for an episode, while another offered the chance to style the "Skins" characters in a fashion shoot that was featured in the U.K. celebrity title More.

Another competition offered a chance to create a short character animation, and the show has teamed up with radio station Kiss to invite fans to remix the soundtrack to the trailer and have it released alongside the re-release of the single, by the Gossip. The members of the community were rewarded for their involvement with a truly wild launch party and premiere screening inspired by a party in the show's trailer.

"Skins" made its debut on Jan. 25 with an audience of 1.6 million viewers and awareness of 86%, 20% of which came via online. In addition, more than 35,000 consumers actively interact with the show online, and it has gained nearly that many friends on MySpace. Fans also make their own trailers and ads for the show and post them online. This consumer-generated content has been viewed more than 20,000 times.

If the show gets picked up for a second season, the plan is to keep the community going and encourage participants to contribute to an even greater degree.

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Cream is a U.K.-based magazine owned by C Squared Communications aimed at highlighting the best in creative media worldwide. All media ideas are part of C Squared's Creative Media Database.
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