Netflix ‘The Witcher’ Launch

CHALLENGE

Introduce new Netflix series ‘The Witcher’ to the Philippines market with just four weeks lead time. By combining mainstream media, influencer and organic social exposure, we needed to make this brand experience the talk of the town. The chosen venue, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, had only recently had its ‘soft opening’, and ‘The Witcher’ launch would be the first major event at the location.

APPROACH

Capitalizing on the exclusive Manila visit from the show’s talent, Henry Cavill, and the series’ showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, we used the excitement generated around Cavill’s presence to build media, word-of-mouth and social hype in the lead-up to the series debut. Netflix and FIRST set out to provide journalists, influencers and fans with the opportunity for meaningful face-to-face interaction with the talent, encouraging viewership of The Witcher and increased subscriptions to the streaming service.

To create as much hype as possible, FIRST integrated an advance brand activation occurring in the mall ahead of the event.  The strategy included a PR campaign targeting traditional media and social, ‘The Witcher’ billboards on the mall’s exterior, and within the shopping centre, photo zones encouraging social media postings. As a result of the pre-event excitement, thousands of fans began queuing outside Ayala Malls from the night before until the event started.

SOLUTION

FIRST provided end-to-end experience management for the launch which was strategically designed to generate maximum engagement. Through local experience in management and delivery, Ayala Malls Manila Bay was selected as the venue due to several defining factors: its central location and easy accessibility for fans; its novelty as the freshest opening in the marketplace; and a design that provided an amphitheatre-like experience. To create excitement, FIRST tailored the experience design and production to create a launch to surprise and delight, and specially created a red carpet that allowed Henry Cavill to spend time meeting viewers, shaking hands, signing autographs and taking selfies.

 

Excitement had built to fever pitch by the time of the launch event itself. Thousands of fans queued outside Ayala Malls for hours, some even camping out overnight, for a chance to participate in the launch and catch a glimpse of Henry on the red carpet. The first 20 ‘superfans’ in the queue were surprised with the opportunity to chat one-on-one with the talent, getting autographs, private photographs and in several instances, hugs from Henry.

Meanwhile, the 2,000+ attendees crowding the mall were treated to a variety of Witcher-branded giveaways, a big-screen viewing of the series trailer, entertaining performances on the red carpet, heralding the arrival of Henry Cavill and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich at the venue.

To bring the series to life, FIRST provided creative expertise to design the stage to resemble a set from the series, complete with fog and special effects, and the red carpet experience featured entertainment to immerse the audience in scenes from ‘The Witcher’.

The red carpet experience had choreographed sequences of court dancers, followed by an exciting display from a team of swordsmen, providing scene-setting for world of The Witcher — based on a best-selling series of books set in a fantastic realm of monsters, swords and sorcery. There was also a red-carpet appearance by three professional Cosplayers, chanelling the three central characters: Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg and Princess Ciri of Cintra.

RESULTS

#1 Netflix Series in the UK and The Philippines in 2019

250K+ Cumulative YouTube Views

130+ Articles Published Online

2.5K+ Uses of the Hashtag #TheWitcherManila