We are living in a world where television is disappearing and internet TV is here to stay. Virtually anyone can create a web series, whether or not anyone will watch is another question…
In a flood of YouTube series, one has triumphed. An Aussie show true and blue.
With a hard core Facebook fan base of over 240k followers (https://www.facebook.com/rosteredon/),78k YouTube subscribers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejl3_mK2t6c) and their 1st episode viewed over 326k times (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejl3_mK2t6c), Rostered On has become a phenomenon that is has sparked a fire for Robot Army (https://www.robotarmyproductions.com.au/) and a new generation of web series.
Living in a digital world as the saying goes, I had to know, was the success of Rostered on all on purpose or down to good content and a bit of luck?
The brains behind Rostered on, Ryan Chamley answered all our marketing questions. Moving into a new world where theory is changing too quickly to produce textbooks our only source is studying the success stories on our own.
As director, producer and scriptwriter of the show Ryan Chamley has created a community which is the only way to survive in a sea of videos.
Why retail as the focal point of the show? It has been a hot trending topic of viral videos – was it intentional?
I worked in retail for years before I became a filmmaker, and as I was starting out. I used to get so incredibly angry with how I was treated by customers, and with expectations of head office, and the stereotypes of the co-workers. I am a very sarcastic person, so I guess that was my way of venting, by writing a script about it. The decision to make it came from me thinking people could relate, as a lot of people work in retail, I didn’t think this many people would relate though. It has definitely gone internationally. Some of our short videos have been re-uploaded by unilad, ladbible, viral thread, pretty52 and one clip, in particular, has been seen by over 40,000,000 people all over the world.
Did you have a solid marketing plan going into this?
I had a solid concept rather than a plan. I really didn’t want to put all this effort in and have it sit on YouTube with 100 views. I also knew I didn’t want to beg people to watch it. Facebook is an amazing tool but has become a sea of people begging to watch their film, come see their band, vote for their kid in a Bonds ad etc.
I also knew people would be viewing this in their personal times, mixed in with posts from friends, pictures of family etc. a time when people really don’t want to be bombarded with advertising.
So, I decided the only way people will be interested, is they need to relate, and if they relate, they will probably (hopefully) share, and organic reach is far more powerful than paid promotion.
So I started making videos that didn’t have any branding except for a logo at the end, which was scary af as there was so much effort put into the production, what if people just thought that was it? It doesn’t say anything about the show, what it’s about. This is a very common problem/ challenge companies run into when running a campaign that’s outside the box.
We started with 15-second videos that had text with things like “tag a mate who is always late for work” or “Share if you hate your boss”.
I sponsored each one for $50 in a 24 hour period.
They started getting comments, shares, likes from people that weren’t connected to us, so it was working, we were blown away by the response.
The one that really blew up though had the sponsoring rejected, as it had too much text for the add, but it was organically shared hundreds of thousands of times and I knew we were onto something. Of course, this lead to page likes going up, and a small proportion of people realising it’s a show, and started to become fans of what we were doing.
Why did you opt for facebook over any other social media?
Everyone is on facebook, billions of people, it’s the only platform in which you can tag & share, which is basically getting people to market for you.
Do you have any marketing background?
Not formally, but my company Robot Army is a video production company and we do a lot of advertising videos. We act like an agent at times, coming up with concepts that will best promote who our clients are.
All you shorts on uni lad who made them? Is it paid promo?
UNILAD (Along with ladbible, pretty52, viral thread etc) just downloaded the videos we posted, put their own caption and titles on and then re-uploaded to their sites crediting us. It wasn’t paid, they all contacted us requesting permission to share our content. We are now a preferred content provider of UNILAD.
Have you made any progress from Netflix? Did those posts work? Or any other offers?
Netflix is a work in progress, we have connections there, and will be meeting them soon, the Netflix posts were more of an experiment, and if it pays off it would be amazingly hilarious.
What were you doing every day to engage and get views?
It’s not a daily thing for Rostered On, more a weekly thing (one or two days ahead), we tried to release a video every week, with some status updates from time to time asking people to tell us how their day at work was etc. Trying to get interaction with our audience.
At the moment we are releasing one episode per week on Tuesdays, and a trailer on Thursdays, and a meme kind of whenever lol.
What was that explosion point and you realised this had become bigger that an indie project?
Probably when one of our videos got 8,000,000 views in three days, that’s when we knew we were onto something.
What have you been doing since to really foster this hype and engagement?
Basically more of the same, the episodes are performing well and people see it as a show now. We live stream from time to time letting fans chat with the cast etc. But the focus has become on the show trying to get funding.
Did you expect to go viral? Was it a hope or did it even cross your mind?
It didn’t for one second even cross my mind, I try not to even hope for things like that. The one goal I had was to get 10,000 views on the pilot episode, and for people to “notice” us as a production company in the industry.
What would you pass on to someone trying to promote themselves the way you have?
It’s all about people relating! It’s scary, but it’s all about emotion, not information, so many people try to blast information down people’s throats, but if people relate to you, they will seek the information themselves, and also tell people about it, doing your marketing for you.
Don’t be afraid to take your brand out of your advertising, if you do it right it will pay off big time!
So it was all down to good content. People connected in the way they do with every viral video but Ryan Chamley was able to foster the community that was gathering. Utilising his instincts and understanding people has made Rostered On a hit Aussie web series that I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
P.S Shout out to Ronn AKA Winston for being the best dude out and letting me fangirl the marketing & production genius behind Rostered On!