Succession, Scandoval, & Sponcon that Works, feat. Sophie Wood - Ep. 62

Last updated on
September 18, 2023
James Nord

In this episode of Negronis with Nord. In a pop culture recap, James and Sophie discuss how TV, social media, and creators work together to make pop culture moments go viral.

They highlight the role of social media in creating a cultural moment around the show and driving viewership. They also analyze the brand partnerships that emerged as a result, such as Ariana Maddox's sponsorship with BIC Razors and Duracell's collaborations. The hosts emphasize the importance of being nimble, taking creative risks, and producing high-quality content in sponsored posts. They also explore the potential trend of a shift towards more professional content in social media marketing.

Below is a portion of the episode transcript for your reading pleasure. Make sure to subscribe to the Fohr YouTube channel to get notified of new episodes, and watch the full episode below.

Vanderpump Rules Recap: How Scandoval Went Viral thanks to Social

James: I do think the show was basically on life support. We don't even have to explain it because if you're watching this show and you haven't heard of what's going on, I don't even know. The conversation and content on social media drove a lot of the performance of this show.  You are banned from Twitter, so you aren't getting it there. You're getting it on TikTok, and I don't spend as much time on TikTok. We spend a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram. So, I think we have an interesting kind of juxtaposition there. But more people watched the Vanderpump Rules finale than Succession, which is an actual piece of art, right? And it's incredible. We're going to talk about it later. How many people watched that finale?

Sophie: It was 4.1 million people who watched the finale.

James: This is driving a huge amount of money for Bravo. This is like an enormous win for them. And something that I hadn't really thought of so much, but yesterday you were like, "Yeah, well that would've never happened without social." So explain what you think worked and how TikTok and tweets ended up in this enormous cultural moment.

Sophie: Usually when a TV show happens, let's say 10 years ago, you can only talk about it with your friends who also watch the show. With social media, this was obviously a huge thing. Creators were able to go on TikTok and create content synthesizing what had happened and then adding their take or trying to piece together timelines of things that were sketchy. So I ended up pulling the number because I was wondering. Hashtag Scandal Ball on TikTok has 888.9 million views, which is nearly a billion views.

James: That's a lot. It's like 10 Superbowls.

Sophie: And I was someone who had never really heard of Vanderpump Rules. I'm not a Bravo person at all. I do like reality TV, but I don't go into that end of it. After seeing it so many times on my "For You" page, I fully tuned in. Now I will watch that show until the end of time because I'm so locked in on what's happening. But that would have never happened had it not been on my TikTok page.

James: This is an example of how social media can influence things beyond the social sphere. It's interesting to see that traditionally, social media was seen as a platform for people to discuss the shows they are watching. However, what's fascinating here is the anticipation of knowing that an affair had happened and everyone waiting to see it come out on the show. This was a big moment for non-believers who often dismiss creators and influencers as not being a significant force. One only has to look at a show like Session, which is a wildly influential, award-winning show, to get fewer views than the finale of Vanderpump Rules. This is pretty wild, considering that as of a year ago, Vanderpump Rules was a pretty niche show. This is a testament to the power of social media. As a result of this, the characters in the show have become more famous, and brands have wanted to partner with them. Some of these partnerships have been pretty interesting. Could you walk us through a few of those partnerships and what you think worked?

Sophie: Overall? Something that we struggle with on our side is when brands or clients tell us that they want to be nimble and reactive to what's happening, but then they clam up or things can't move along quickly enough, or they can't sign off on a fun or cheeky creative. The thing that I liked about all of these brand deals was that they moved quickly and signed off on a cheeky creative. As we were going through all of them, you had just said that you can't talk about being cheated on your whole career. I think that with these three, there will be no more after this because it's already been done and the moment's over.

James: One. Yeah, totally agree like that. It is so hard for brands to like get approvals done quickly, but I think in this moment it's like they probably knew they've got a month to really capitalize on this. And to your point, 10 brands can't do it. Let's walk through the big example first.

Sophie: The marketing directors said that sales boosted by 35% for a two-week period after they sponsored Ariana Maddox.

James: This is the highest social media engagement for B's razor division within the last two years.

Sophie: That's insane. Yeah. The creative was really funny. It talked about unclogging her life, feeling like something has always been in her way, and making a jab at Tom Sandoval. They said they turned it around in three weeks, ideated, executed, and posted it within three weeks. So that was just perfect.

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Cheers, and thanks for watching.

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