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Bridgerton Insights: the Best Marketing Secrets of Releasing Season 3

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  • Post last modified:February 29, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of television and streaming content, the launch of a new series or new season is no small feat. It requires a meticulously planned marketing strategy that not only captures the essence of the show but also ignites the curiosity and excitement of a global audience. Stand out between the dozen other series that are being released weekly now. Why should they watch YOUR series? 

One standout example of such marketing prowess is the promotional campaign for “Bridgerton,” a period drama series that debuted on Netflix in December 2020. At the time of the first release, we were all locked in our homes due to the pandemic and the release of the series was the perfect timing for the females sitting alone at home. It became a phenomenon. In May and June this year, season three will be released, but the series still holds its power. Season three is long anticipated and this week has released some small snippets of what’s to come, causing the internet to go wild.

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This blog post delves into the multifaceted marketing strategies employed in advance of the release of “Bridgerton,” offering insights and lessons for content creators and marketers alike. Normally, not exactly the topic I speak of, but as it’s done by a production company – the famous Shondaland – I feel it’s very interesting to see how marketing is an important element in the whole production process. 

Understanding Bridgerton’s Appeal

Before dissecting the marketing strategies, it’s crucial to understand what the series is about and why it appeals to such a vast audience. 

Created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland: also known for creating Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. If you’re interested in learning more about how Shonda Rhimes works and writes, I suggest reading her book: “Year of Yes”. I felt really inspired by her, as setting priorities and daring to do things allowed her to take steps she never dared before. 

“Bridgerton” is set in the competitive world of Regency-era London’s Ton during the season when debutantes are presented at court. It’s a romantic, scandalous, and sumptuous series that not only offers an escape into a visually stunning past but also addresses contemporary issues through its storytelling, such as race, gender, and class. What sets it apart, is the use of contemporary music in a classical style, the uncensored love scenes and the beautiful costumes (not historically accurate, but inspired by). 

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What makes season 3 special, is that we already know the characters who will fall in love. In the first season, we get to know some characters. In the second season, we know the Bridgerton family, but not yet the love interest of the season. Season three however centers around two characters that we’ve already known for two seasons and we know a lot of their background. The female leading character is even the storyteller of the whole series, as the writer of a weekly gossip paper. 

“This is my third year on the show, and I knew the workload was going to be crazy. You go, ‘Oh, man, this show is huge.’ It’s got a huge fandom behind it, and you do feel a bit like the captain of the ship, and you want to lead it as best you can. It was all-consuming in a way it’s never been before.”

Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington

Interestingly, this series is based on 8 books (one book per sibling of the Bridgerton family, if you haven’t read the books yet, you can get them here). So the real active fans will already know what will happen in the book. Shondaland however does not hide the storyline for the less active fans, as the little snippets shared so far make it very clear who the love couple will be this season. 

At the same time, the series extends the Bridgerton world quite a bit, compared to the book. We have new characters appearing, sidelines that didn’t exist before and also some character storylines are twisted in a new way, making it somewhat unpredictable. Meaning that even the diehard fans don’t know exactly what will be shown in the new season. 

Interested if you should produce your own idea and become the next Bridgerton? Get some tips here.

Strategy 1: Building Anticipation Through Teasers and Trailers

The marketing journey of “Bridgerton” began with the release of carefully crafted teasers and trailers and the strategy is carried on for season 3. These short videos were designed to intrigue and entice, offering glimpses into the lavish world of Regency London while keeping much of the plot under wraps. The trailers highlighted the show’s high production values, attractive cast, and the promise of an enthralling story, all set to a modern soundtrack that hinted at the show’s fresh and contemporary approach to the period drama genre. For season three, it also shows that the show continues in the same style, while also accentuating what is new. 

At the beginning of February, Shondaland released this teaser for season 3: 

The first sneakpeak for season 3

As you can see, it centres around Colin Bridgerton, the third brother of the family, and Penelope Featherington. As the viewer, you quickly catch on about the pair and the chemistry between them. It also leaves you wondering how they got there and how it will continue. Will they act on it? How will they act on it? The series is famous for its sexual scenes, will we get some of these? The anticipation is build. 

Strategy 2: Leveraging the Shondaland Brand

The involvement of Shonda Rhimes, a scriptwriter and powerhouse in the television industry known for hits like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” was a significant aspect of the marketing strategy. By associating “Bridgerton” with the Shondaland brand (Shonda Rhimes’ company), the marketing team tapped into an existing fan base eager for Rhimes’ next project. 

This connection was emphasized in promotional materials, interviews, and social media, leveraging Rhimes’ reputation for creating compelling, diverse, and addictive television. If you check the online advertisement for season 3, you will more often than not see Rimes part of the interviews or telling you a backstory about the series. 

Strategy 3: Engaging Social Media and Influencers

Social media played a pivotal role in the marketing of “Bridgerton.” The series’ official accounts on platforms like Instagram and Twitter are active months before the release, sharing behind-the-scenes content, character posters, and interactive content to engage with fans. For season three, the fans have already named it the season of ‘Polin’, a contraction of the names of the lead characters. 

Additionally, Netflix collaborates with influencers and celebrities to create buzz around the series. These influencers shared their excitement and reactions to early screenings, unboxing experiences of promotional packages, and participated in virtual events, amplifying the reach of the series’ marketing efforts.

Strategy 4: Capitalizing on the Power of Soundtracks

The “Bridgerton” marketing team also ingeniously used the series’ soundtrack to create anticipation.

We talked about wanting to take a super-modern approach to the sound but using traditional instruments. I tried having all the orchestral elements sound like they had been sampled, and used them as if I were a hip-hop or pop producer. I tried that for a couple of the ball scenes, and pretty quickly realized it wasn’t working.

Kris Bowers in Variety

Featuring classical covers of modern pop songs, the soundtrack was both a nod to the show’s blending of historical and contemporary elements and a standalone marketing tool. By releasing the soundtrack shortly before the series premiere, the team provided an auditory teaser that piqued interest and set the tone for the show’s unique aesthetic.

Album cover

Of course, what I should really mention here is the album created by Barlow and Bear: The (Unofficial) Bridgerton Musical, based on season 1. Although no help for the promotion of season 3, it gave an incredible boost to the series and was one of the best marketing actions possible. Barlow and Bear decided (on social media) to create a few songs inspired by the series, which became such a hit that they created a whole album and even won a Grammy. At first, the action was encouraged by all production companies as it encouraged audience attraction.

Up to a certain point, however. Netflix and Shondaland stepped in when the music creators wanted to earn money with their Bridgerton music without any agreements on royalties or copyrights. You can find about it the full story here.

Strategy 5: Creating a World Beyond the Screen

To immerse viewers in the world of “Bridgerton” even before its release, the marketing team employed transmedia storytelling techniques. This included the creation of an online portal that offered a deeper dive into the series’ universe, including backstories for the characters, interactive family trees, and insights into the Regency era’s customs and fashion. This approach not only enriched the viewing experience but also built a more engaged and invested audience.

Collaboration between Allure Bridals, Shondaland and Netflix with as result: a bridal collection of wedding dresses inspired by Bridgerton.

For season 3, Shondaland has announced a true Bridgerton wedding (details are yet to be released) and the opportunity to have a real regency high tea. 

Strategy 6: Strategic Release Timing

The timing of “Bridgerton’s” release is another strategic decision. The first season launched on Christmas Day, a time when families are together and viewers have more free time, the series was positioned as a holiday event. This timing maximized viewership and took advantage of the festive period’s propensity for word-of-mouth marketing, as people shared their holiday viewing experiences with friends and family. Of course, corona helped a lot as many people were locked in their homes. 

Season three is released in two parts: one part in May and one part in June. This means double the anticipation. And season 4 is already confirmed…

The Aftermath: A Marketing Success Story

The culmination of these strategies was a marketing triumph. “Bridgerton” quickly became one of Netflix’s most-watched series, with a record-setting viewership that cemented its status as a cultural phenomenon. The buzz generated by the marketing campaign translated into tangible success, demonstrating the power of a well-orchestrated promotional strategy.

Interested in how a series gets commissioned by Netflix? Get some information here.

Netflix

Lessons Learned

The marketing journey of “Bridgerton” offers several key takeaways for content creators and marketers:

  • Build Anticipation: Teasers and trailers that strike the right balance between revealing and concealing can generate intrigue and excitement.
  • Leverage Brand Power: Associating a new project with a well-known and respected brand or personality can tap into an existing audience base.
  • Embrace Social Media: A strong social media presence, combined with influencer partnerships, can significantly amplify marketing messages.
  • Think Beyond Traditional Formats: Innovative use of music, transmedia storytelling, and other non-traditional marketing formats can enrich the promotional campaign.
  • Timing is Everything: Strategic release timing can maximize viewership and take advantage of cultural or seasonal moments.

Conclusion

The marketing strategies employed in the lead-up to the release of “Bridgerton” illustrate the importance of a multi-faceted approach that engages potential viewers on multiple levels. By building anticipation, leveraging brand power, embracing social media, thinking beyond traditional formats, and choosing the right timing, the team behind “Bridgerton” created a marketing campaign as captivating as the series itself. These strategies offer valuable lessons for marketers and content creators aiming to make their mark in the crowded landscape of television and streaming content. As “Bridgerton” has shown, a well-planned and executed marketing campaign can turn a new series into a cultural phenomenon, captivating audiences around the globe and leaving them eagerly awaiting the next season.

So who else is also waiting for May to come?

This article has been created with the help of AI. Edited, rewritten, modified and adjusted by me. 

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