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Channel 4: The End of the F***ing World

  • Date:

    02 September 2020

Channel 4: The End of the F***ing World

WINNER – Magnetic Spotlight Awards 2020 for Best Content Partnership (<£100k)
WINNER – Magnetic Spotlight Awards 2020 for Best Brand Experience

“For The End of the F***ing World’s return, we really wanted to give fans of the show something to be excited about. So, in partnership with Den of Geek, 4creative produced a magazine of real fan theories of what people thought might happen after THAT cliffhanger from Series 1, which we then distributed to hundreds of excited fans at Comic-Con 2020. A huge goal for the campaign was drumming up excitement amongst fans, and the fan theory magazine did this in spades.”

Alan Moss, Marketing C4

The Challenge

A homegrown, critically acclaimed comedy-drama, The End of the F**king World (TEOTFW) was an international hit and, in November 2019, it returned home to Channel 4. The challenge was simple: using a tiny budget defeat the world’s most popular streaming platform and get ‘The End of the F***ing World superfans to tune into the new series on C4 instead of waiting for it to come out on Netflix.

The Idea

Whether it was the contenders for the Iron Throne, the identity of H or the defeat of Thanos, all pop culture hits are fuelled by fan theories.

Not every piece of content has the potential to fuel this conversation, but TEOTFW was different. It was based on a graphic novel and had an existing, enthusiastic fanbase, a group mostly under-30, who had grown up on social media. And the first season ended on a massive cliff-hanger.

The challenge was to get this socially active, meme ready fanbase sharing their theories about the second series. Could that excitement rope in a broader audience? To steal attention from Netflix on a minimal budget, this campaign leapt feet-first into fan culture.

To better fuel the conversation amongst the fanbase before the launch C4 partnered with Den of Geek, the Dennis Publishing-owned home of cult TV and film.

First, to prime the fanbase, TEOTFW went on tour to Comic Con, the world’s biggest comic convention and a Den of Geek partner. With the convention hosting TEOTFW’s biggest fans, a stand with the stars in tow was created, helping enthusiasts get the inside track on series 2, dressing up in costume and re-enacting their favourite scenes in a replica of the set, and have a 4Creative artist illustrate their theories about the series 1 cliff-hanger.

Then, to promote these theories, comic books of illustrations were created – first online and then as a limited-edition series of 5,000. The physical copies were distributed to TEOTFW’s biggest fans, with the last pages left blank to allow them to sketch and then share their own theory about the cliff-hanger – which they did in their thousands, generating a tidal wave of online conversation ahead of the launch.

The Results

Overall, the campaign reached 1.8m (more than 90%) of our audience with fan theory content and generated even more attention organically through PR and social conversation.

The campaign drove the highest awareness of a C4 show amongst 16-34s for three years, with attribution to C4 up 11% and association with Netflix down 15%.

The launch episode achieved 1m viewers, up 75% on series 1 viewing.

The entire series totalled 5.6m views in 28 days, making it the second biggest show on All4 ever, the single biggest show for 16-24s on All4 in 2019, and the single biggest drama this year on Channel 4 for the same audience.

In total, the show was the 2nd biggest ever on All4, with a third of viewers new or lapsed and a third amongst 16-34’s, making it C4’s youngest skewing drama since 2015 and on any terrestrial channel in 2019.