Tracking David Lynch’s Launch Strategy with Media Monitoring
David Lynch is a well-known auteur and artist. From his brain emerged Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and the Twin Peaks television series and related film.
Later this month, Showtime will air new Twin Peaks episodes, and excitement is high for a series that only ran two seasons in 1990 and 1991. Billed as the third season, but taking place 25 years later, diehard fans have been frothing at the mouth ever since rumors about the reboot began gaining steam in 2013. In 2014 a formal announcement was released that David Lynch and Mark Frost would return in 2017 to the mysterious northwest town.
We don’t all have three years lead time to pace a campaign launch. Does it even make for a viable strategy to stretch out the news cycle this long? Is it possible to sustain a build up over the course of so many years? Here we look at how to tee up a launch using savvy PR strategy and media monitoring.
Use Tried and True PR Tactics
After confirmation of the third season, official announcements about actors either returning or being added to the cast were leaked at intervals. Knowing that original cast members, including Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, and Sheryl Lee were returning added intrigue, as did the addition of an old Lynch favorite, but new to Twin Peaks, Laura Dern (costar of Wild at Heart). Lynch also added popular indie actress, singer, and adept social media personality, Sky Ferreira to the cast. This trickle of information, along with the tidbit that the series would take place 25 years after the film’s end in 1992, gave fans something to chew on.
Keeping yourself in the news cycle can get old quick, so how do you make sure that the points of view that you’re offering remain fresh? Use surrogates. Since Lynch was bringing back co-creator Mark Frost, composer Angelo Badalamenti, Kyle MacLachlan, and other well-loved cast members from the series, he relied on them to share their experiences from working on the original series and their hopes for the new episodes. And every time the question of Twin Peaks came up in interviews or social media unrelated to a project they might be promoting. MacLachlan, Ferreira, Lee, and Fenn—as surrogates—were generous in discussing the third season. The Twin Peaks team swore the cast to a certain amount of secrecy but gave them freedom within those parameters to help build buzz.
Repurpose and Release (New) Content
Steam for the series was really built up after the July 2014 release of Twin Peaks: The Complete Mystery Blu-ray set. In September of that same year, when asked about new episodes, David Lynch replied, “…there’s always a possibility… and you just have to wait and see.” A few months later, Lynch inked the deal with Showtime. Beyond the regular PR tactics of releasing cast names, his team went on to produce two festivals (The Music of David Lynch in 2015 and Festival of Disruption in 2016) in LA with musical acts, discussions with David Lynch, and of course, actors from Twin Peaks in attendance. This was followed by the 2016 release of the Twin Peaks – Original Score LP by the series composer, Angelo Badalamenti. Also in 2016, it seemed that all collaborators were responsible for producing content, Mark Frost released a novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, detailing the history of the town.
— FestivalofDisruption (@FestDisruption) March 10, 2017
It seems that every several months, an unofficial film series, art exhibit, album release, a book, a short homage to David Lynch related film, or another documentary pops up. This is in addition to the producers and cast members sitting on panel discussions at fan events. And playing the 2017 festival circuit, David Lynch: The Art Life, a documentary on the impact of painting and a few weird instances in forming David Lynch’s aesthetic. This level of media coverage has gone on for three years.
We’d be remiss to not mention how much social media plays a part in keeping all this content circulating in the Twittersphere, let alone on various film and online forums. David Lynch has over 3 million Twitter followers and broadcasts his and his crew’s projects. Sure, he isn’t necessarily engaging in a two-way convo with followers, but with so many followers and a breadth of projects, following his account might be enough for a loyal fan or new enthusiast.
— David Lynch (@DAVID_LYNCH) September 15, 2016
Make Your Brand on Point
Whether a commercial, a documentary about how art plays a part in his life, a festival, or event. David Lynch’s aesthetic extends throughout all the content he produces, and whether you watch a film, attend a festival he has curated, or listen to a soundtrack of his films, you can identify his work.
If you have a well-known brand and resources, a diverse campaign schedule can keep your media mentions coming. Even though you have a project that has a limited shelf life, consider creative ways to repurpose the content so that brand fans can continue to engage well beyond the event itself. This can also be an opportunity to extend the reach of your company brand ambassadors. Allow colleagues an opportunity to share their unique takes on the campaign throughout the year; not only during the crucial time before and during the campaign. David Lynch and his team have illustrated how an event or product launch can have a longer shelf life than usually imagined.
Now, are you excited to see the new season? We know we are.