Syfy and #Sharknado 3 Make Social TV History (Again)

It’s that time of year again!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since the last Sharknado hit the east coast of America and my last Sharknado article was released (no summer storm this time – Porsche is still there…)

*WARNING, MAJOR SHARK INFESTED SPOILERS AHEAD*

Much of this post will contain spoilers that have already popped up on various social media and websites after the USA release of Sharknado… The UK is 24 hours behind and Sharknado will air here tonight.

You have been warned…

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Here we go again

Tonight will see return of the deadliest storm on UK TV.

And based on what I’ve read, seen, heard (and been yelled at in the street) Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No seems to have everything!

Outer-space births, the moon, the Hoff, incredible cameos (including one that NOBODY saw coming), immense CGI gore, lightsabre chainsaws (obviously) and of course hilarious shark killing action.

Sounds like it will be a hell of ride – I cannot wait to watch it along with the rest of Twitter!

If ever there was a broadcaster/ show runner team who understand the power social media and TV audiences – Syfy and Sharknado are it.

This time however, they kicked it into overdrive!

#AprilLives or #AprilDies

Again… MAJOR SPOILERS below.

To start at the end, what has to be the most memorable use of Twitter Hashtags (in any TV broadcast) was the final on-screen call to action, asking US fans to decide the fate of April – a major character in Sharknado.

(I imagine we will have a similar experience.)

The final shot of the movie places April in an incredibly dangerous situation, mere seconds from death, and then…

The screen goes black and the audience are greeted with this message:

You decide if #AprilLives or #AprilDies.

The vote is open, it’s real and it’s happening on Twitter right now!

Syfy has already green-lit Sharknado 4, and this vote will directly effect the storyline of the best-worst TV movie franchise of all time.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Regina, senior VP program strategy at Syfy/Sharknado 3 commented on the decision to end the film with a Twitter vote.

“We needed to do something that was going to keep the audience in jeopardy and want to come back for another Sharknado. That led to the idea that I came up with in having the audience vote. Sharknado, more than anything on television, is a social interaction with the viewers, so we wanted to make it interactive”

This is mirrored by Michael Engleman; Syfy’s executive VP of marketing who recently told Forbes:

“Our philosophy is to try to find things that extend the story beyond the first screen; to create a more immersive experience.”

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User Generated Fish Bait and Sync Screen

Of course this final vote is only one of the many strategies surrounding Sharknado 3 on social media.

Users have been asked to upload of pictures of themselves in various shark related spoofs onto Twitter, and were even able to download the Go Shark Yourself App which put the user inside a Sharknado and let them easily share it with their friends.

Various competitions and polls were also carried out on Twitter during the build up to “Oh Hell No” giving users a chance to prove they are the most loyal Sharknado fan – by sending in various photos or memes relating to the Sharknado franchise.

Entries included photos of fans dressed in shark costumes, Lego sharks in a Lego city and even a Sharknado 3 cameo bingo card (which I will use tonight).

A Sharknado 3 Social Sweepstakes competition was also created – which asked Twitter users to submit original content around the theme of FOMS (Fear of Missing Sharknado) with the best 25 entries winning official Sharknado 3 bobble heads.

Additionally Sharknado also featured on Syfy’s (USA only) official screen sync app, which, in addition to delivering extra content directly to the users second screen device could (in some instances) also be synced to the users household lighting.

This meant that every time someone died on screen – their light bulbs would turn red!

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Good Old Fashioned Chit-Chat

Finally, with all fancy technology and social sweep stakes aside, the Sharknado crew did what they do best on social media… Talk to the fans.

During both the live US broadcast and the build up to it, all of the major actors, cameo actors, some production crew and network personnel took to Twitter to keep the fans engaged and talking to each other.

Lead actors Ian Ziering and Tara Reid also took to Periscope to answer live Q&A’s about all things Sharknado, and during the live broadcast tweeted special behind the scenes pictures (usually showing them a filming a particular scene seen on screen)

Live videos were also posted up by the cast; in the wake of the #AprilLives/Dies reveal the cast and crew took to Twitter and uploaded a video themselves chanting “April Lives”.

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Until the Next Storm…

It kinda sucks to know all of this before the film has even aired here in the UK yet.

However – if nothing else – it shot my excitement into the stratosphere.

Only 7 hours and 56 mins at time of writing this until I can witness it first hand.

The only thing I’m looking forward too more is the reaction on Twitter during live airing.

So keep an eye out for a follow up post tomorrow in which I’ll be posting the top 10 UK Twitter comments for Sharknado 3.

See you after the storm (and keep your chainsaw handy)!

 

 

 

 

Lee Robinson
About the author

23yr old film nerd, comic book and video game geek and all round Transmedia Fanatic…Oh, and I also have a 1st degree in Media, Writing and Production. More here...

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