The producers of the hit NBC television program Heroes had a problem. The combination of a disappointing finale to season one and a disappointing and truncated second season had left the still well rated show with a decided lack of momentum leading into their upcoming season 3 debut.
As most top genre television shows do, the show had a panel planned for the San Diego Comic-Con. They needed to make a big splash to hype the new season and restore the confidence of the fan base.
Their solution was to create an event that got people talking about the show again. Unlike most shows which only had a few clips or a highlight reel, Heroes offered the first hour of their 2 hour season premiere for viewing. They also had their entire regular cast available for the panel, when most shows did not.
The show’s creator Tim Kring tried to emphasize that message by telling attendees that “[y]ou will see that ‘Heroes’ is back, and back in a big way,” Kring also encouraged people to talk about what they saw. To spoil the show and to blog on it. As I said above, he wanted the information out there as a way to make the show relevant and create momentum for the new season.
Giving out a portion of your content is a proven way to create brand interest. As we’ve discussed previously, giving customers something for free is a great way to promote your product and entice those customers into purchasing future services. The decision by the producers of Heroes to screen a full hour of the first show is a perfect example of using this tactic. By giving one hour away, they created a greater possibility that people will watch the rest of the show by creating a positive buzz. Moreover, the existence of spoilers on that first hour does not preclude people watching the actual broadcast as viewers will want to see the actual show and not just words describing the show.
So again, don’t be afraid to give free samples or free information to your customers or potential customers. It might be just the thing to boost your sales past the ordinary to “heroic” levels. A business card wouldn’t hurt either.