Homeland and Dexter are arguably Showtime’s best-known, most-acclaimed series. But the cable network wasn’t resting on its laurels: To promote the season premieres of the programs in September 2012, Showtime and Van Wagner Experiential took over Vanderbilt Hall in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal for three days, filling it activities and displays to get both loyal fans and newbies excited about the new season.
For instance, Dexter fans could get photographed while wrapped in plastic and strapped to the “Kill Table” of the titular character (a blood-splatter analyst/serial killer), then share the picture online. Followers of espionage series Homeland could take an actual polygraph test or participate in a timed wiretap challenge; photos of the former and videos of the latter were shared via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. A display of the winners of a Dexter fan-art contest, a special presentation recapping the first season of Homeland, sneak peeks of the upcoming season for both programs, and a specially commission art installation were among other highlights. And because you can really work up an appetite pretending to be a serial killer’s victim or a CIA agent, Magnolia Bakery gave away thousands of show-branded cupcakes and cookies.
Attendance during the three days was estimated at 9,000. But thanks in part to the sharing of photos and videos online and to its location in the heavily traveled subway and train station, the event generated 2.25 million impressions all told. In fact, 200,000 people were reached via secondary social media shares and retweets alone.