Modern Marketing Blog

What Marketers Can Learn From The “Breaking Bad: Alchemy” iBook

August 12, 2013 By: Amanda Batista

Heisenberg has returned.

For those of you who know and love the show “Breaking Bad,” you’ve been waiting for last night’s final season premiere like a little kid anticipating Santa.

Not withstanding its incredible fan following as one of the most thoughtful and compelling TV shows, the “Breaking Bad” brand has been an outstanding marketing and PR power. The usual marketing and press activities surrounding a TV show doesn’t cut it for an epic series of this caliber — so the “Breaking Bad” brand is emphasized as a multichannel, multimedia experience.

Tactically, modern marketers can learn a great deal from the brand’s engagement initiatives. The show launched a photo builder tool called the “Name Lab” where fans can create a Facebook cover or profile photo with their names written periodic elements-style. Hot Topic is selling show-themed t-shirts and accessories. And as part of the usual TV press run, the cast recently made a cameo on a highly viral episode of “The Colbert Report.”

Beyond these traditional marketing and PR tactics, the show has taken a page from the B2B content marketing playbook. In anticipation of last night’s final season premiere, Sony produced an interactive iBook called Breaking Bad: Alchemy. Designed for the iPad, the content includes more than 120 pages (eight chapters) about the evolution of the show, and more than 350 interactive visual and audio elements.

The iBook digs into character and episode breakdowns from the pilot and will update all the way through to the final episode. The content also features interactive quizzes, 360-degree set tours and exclusive interviews with show creator Vince Gilligan.

The iBook is a great concept because it connects the fans to a continued story, but it also provides an extension of the show’s themes, and as the final season unfolds, the iBook will be updated with new scenes to capture the legacy of the show and its characters.

Here are some tips content marketers can learn from the “Breaking Bad: Alchemy” iBook:

  • The iBook features content from the show creator Vince Gilligan. It’s a nice value add for a community to hear directly from a brand, product or company founder, creator, who are your ultimate front line thought leaders. This direct interaction provides a ‘face’ to the brand name.

  • The iBook provides assessment utility, where fans can test their knowledge on the show, its themes, and characters. Quizzes, polls, and interactive assessments are a great way to engage with fans on their terms, and potentially provide educational value.

  • The iBook offers background information on the techniques used to achieve certain scenes and effects on the show. A ‘behind the scenes’ look or feature on a web site provides content consumers with more visibility into the inner workings of a product or service.

  • The iBook’s core value proposition is an extension of the storyline. Fans, of course, don’t want to see the story end, and the content enables people to stay connected to the story through its characters, themes, music, timelines, and more.

Content marketing ultimately should supplement your relationship with your community, and therefore needs to reflect the needs and wants of your audience.

Keep in mind the character ‘Walter White's ’ wise words from season one: “We are going to make a good product that does what it is supposed to, as advertised. No emulsifiers, no baking powder, no bleach, no chili powder.”



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