Just when you think the creativity well has run dry in the world of online marketing, a fast-thinking brand comes up with something truly clever. The brand in question is AMC. This should come as no surprise, seeing as how past social media and digital campaigns for The Killing, Mad Men and The Walking Dead are the jaw-dropping kind of originality we marketing types gnash our teeth over and whine “Wish I thought of that!” Yet an online campaign for Breaking Bad might be one the best examples of digital engagement we’ve ever seen from the network.
When we last left the meth-cooking world of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White, things didn’t look so good. Although things in this darkly comic show never look great, the mid-season finale that ended with Walter’s cancer accelerated and the authorities moving in really painted a bleak picture for our favorite anti-hero. Yet AMC and the National Cancer Coalition have found a way to turn Walter’s misfortune into something great for real-life cancer patients. Save Walter White is an online campaign supposedly started by his son on the show, Walt Jr. Back in October 2012, AMC turned Walt Jr.’s website from the show into a reality and posted a real-life “Save Walter White” site. It looks and sounds like a fundraising site created by a teenager with phrases like, “This surgery is the one chance there is to save his life. And we can’t afford it. And every day that goes by is one less day I’ll have with him.” Upon first glance, the site is merely a clever promotion for the show.
But the website goes way beyond just standard TV show promotion; when sympathetic visitors to “Save Walter White” click on the designated “click here to donate” button, they are directed to the National Cancer Coalition website’s Breaking Bad page, where fans really can donate to the worthy cause of beating cancer. Since October, the site has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars — and we’re excited to see how much more it raises when Breaking Bad returns in August.
This dual-purpose promotion is pretty darn clever, but we want to hear from you, readers: What online marketing campaigns have made you say, “Wish I thought of that?” Sound off in the comments section!