River Monster’s Piranha Flash Mob
Client: Animal Planet
The first season of Animal Planet’s River Monsters was the highest rated series in the channel’s history. Each episode featured River Monsters host, biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade, as he traveled to a new location around the world to unravel the mysteries and myths behind elusive fresh-water fish that strike terror in the hearts of locals and TV viewers alike.
For season 2, Pierce was charged with building on season 1’s success and building excitement for the April 25th season premiere. They created a stunt program that brought the River Monsters experience to life by unleashing a school of deadly piranha in New York City through a fleet of five smart cars decked out to look like larger than life fish.
A few days before the premiere, the piranha cars hit the streets. All cars were customized with top and back fins. One was built out with a video monitor showcasing show content out of the back window. Everywhere they went – Grand Central Station, 42nd street, Broadway, Columbus Circle, etc. – the Piranha moved as a school, sticking together as they navigated the city, entering traffic circles, taking over parking spots and waiting at red lights.
A team of River Monster anglers traveled on foot to create street buzz for River Monsters and complemented the school of smart cars. Wearing branded fishing vests and hats, the anglers drew consumers in with intriguing questions such as: “Did you know that River Monsters is not just about killer fish, it’s about a man chasing a legend?” Having baited consumers with questions, the Anglers offered them tune-in cards featuring the date and time of the premiere, plus a fish koozie compliments of River Monsters.
During the April 23rd and 24th events, Animal Planet tweeted photos of the piranha out and about in the city. They teased their impending arrival in Times Square and offered everyone who tweeted a photo of the cars the chance to win a River Monsters DVD. On Facebook, the brand posted images of the cars and provided updates about their trip throughout the city.
The campaign was a tremendous success and helped River Monsters make history for Animal Planet. It was the channel’s best season premiere among people 18-49 (971,000) and 25-54 (879,000), and brought in more than 1.7 million viewers, scoring a 1.3 household rating and ranking among the top 5 among ad-supported cable at the 10:00 P.M. time slot.
River Monsters anglers interacted with more than 15,000 consumers over three days. More than 77,000 online consumer impressions and 1,3 million vehicle impressions were generated. They even received requests from people who wanted to buy the piranha-shaped smart cars after the promotion was finished.