Although the first season of “Gossip Girl” did not enjoy the audience it had initially anticipated, it did gain plenty of press from advocacy groups such as the Parents Television Council as they railed against it. The CW Network’s challenge: How to launch the second season of “Gossip Girl” in a way that would garner major media buzz, boost Nielsen ratings and save the show from cancellation.
Rather than hide from “Gossip Girl’s” negative press coverage from season one, we created a campaign using images from the show’s racier moments alongside quotes taken from media stories, such as “every parent’s nightmare,” “a nasty piece of work” and “mind-blowingly inappropriate.” We generated buzz by leaking the images two weeks prior to the campaign’s official launch and it spread like wildfire!
By episode three, “Gossip Girl” had earned its highest ratings ever, pulling in 3.7 million viewers and making The CW No. 1 for the night in women and adults ages 18 to 34. Not to mention, the total estimated audience from the press coverage exceeded 400 million (not including many of the Web placements, which did not have audience numbers available).