Few marketing manoeuvres have ever been this practical.
Showtime’s popular drama series Billions stars Homeland‘s Damien Lewis as the brilliant, yet corrupt hedge fund manager Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod. Head of Axe Capital, a thriving investment firm, Axe is respected for his ability to seize upon a good idea when he sees one.
To celebrate the launch of the show’s second season, Showtime’s marketing team have captured Axe’s entrepreneurial vigour and channeled it into a Kickstarter profile that will be funding campaigns across the platform throughout the season’s duration.
So far, five projects have been backed, with the final number to be determined by the quality of the submissions that have been rolling in since late February, and how close each project is to hitting their financial target.
“We’re looking for companies that pique our interest, meet certain criteria and appeal to and embody the spirit of the show,” Chief Marketing Officer Don Buckley told Forbes. “What we are hoping to do is bring these companies through that last mile; those that are close to completion and just need the money to reach their goal.”
Included in these projects are a dog tracker device that monitors the animal’s health and behaviour in real time, adjustable, eco-friendly clothing for babies, and even a company that produces eggplant jerky.
“We want to try new things each season and we feel that Kickstarter is a particularly fitting platform in regards to the show. Axe Capital, as a powerful financial entity, is focused on funding, finance and innovation,” says Buckley. He believes this is the first time a brand has engaged with the crowdfunding platform on such a level, but the attention the campaign has been gathering is bound to ensure it’s not the last.
It’s not the first time Billions’ marketing team have taken an innovative spin to reach their audience. When the show first launched, they sponsored the Wall Street Journal so that the paywall would be temporarily taken down, allowed viewers to scan physical currency to unlock additional content, and held a screening and Q&A for the pilot at Goldman Sachs.
Their campaign certainly proved successful. Billions had the most successful series launch in Showtime’s history, and is now the second-most watched show on the network, following Homeland.
The network’s creative marketing tactics should serve as eye-openers for marketers across all industries. While traditional marketing certainly still shows results, Billions proves there’s plenty of innovative still to be tapped into.