(Written by Anna Gamboa; Illustration by John Patrick Gañas)
With an actual presidential campaign underway in the US, Netflix’s hit show House of Cards promoted its fourth season by blurring the lines between reality and fiction with #FU2016 on social media. Frank Underwood, the adroit politician who puts Machiavelli and the Borgias to shame, is being promoted as a possible contender once again for POTUS.
How did they do it?
Impeccably timed, the BBH New York-conceived multimedia onslaught mirrored or even rivaled every politically-savvy move created in real life: a CNN-sponsored political broadcast featuring Frank Underwood during a live Republican debate; and a website (FU2016.com) where anyone could visit the campaign’s headquarters virtually (or even for real if they really wanted to), make #FU2016 their own and purchase related campaign merch. The campaign even had social media involved, as Underwood exhorted voters to vote with their conscience.
Winning the Integrated Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, by literally hijacking the debate, taking advantage over the fascination/disgust over candidate Donald Trump and presenting Frank Underwood as a possible wildcard alternative—the campaign created 6.6 billion impressions as of June 2016.
Cannes juror Ted Lim, CCO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific was all praises, saying: “[It] became the top trending topic on Twitter and Facebook during the Republican debate. People could say ‘FU’ to any issue facing America at [the website]. The campaign received extensive coverage on major news networks…captured the imagination of the public and proved that fiction can be more powerful than fact.”
Another juror, Jeremy Craigen, Global CCO of Innocean Worldwide, pointed out how the relevancy and timeliness of the campaign “converse well with the time that we are experiencing with [world] politics.”
The campaign also netted the D&AD Graphite Pencil for Integrated & Innovative Media as well as in the Integrated – Large Business category.
In a time when real politics could have stolen the show, #FU2016 ran away with the limelight when and where it mattered, creating the most talked-about campaign in Netflix history.