How H+K Strategies helped ViacomCBS turn the legendary Friends series into a super popular offline exhibition

FriendsFest is a festival dedicated to the legendary TV show Friends, that celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. On this occasion, Paramount Comedy brought the festival to Russia for the first time. Despite FriendsFest’s popularity abroad, it was an entirely new format to Russia, which required audience education.

H+K supported the launch with a 360 campaign that aimed to introduce the festival to the Russian market, build awareness, as well as drive engagement and traffic to the event. This was achieved through online activations, blogger integrations, social media giveaways, an offline event and features on federal TV and radio stations.

To build awareness about the festival, in pre-launch stage we organised features in Tier 1 lifestyle media (such as InStyle, Maxim, Glamour, ElleGirl, OK!) that explained what FriendsFest entailed and what activities one could expect from it. This was also promoted on lifestyle radio stations and supported with the launch of social media giveaways across key general interest media. Fans were remembering their favourite characters and moments from the show for a chance to win tickets to the festival.

We arranged free collaborations with the key Russian influencers and celebrities to drive engagement and support traffic to the event. We invited selected press, famous lifestyle bloggers, actors, musicians, standup comedians and public figures to an exclusive FriendsFest Launch party that took place one day before festival’s official launch. Over 200 guests attended the party; celebrities and bloggers posted Instagram stories from the party, took photos in Monica’s famous living room, gave interviews to the media and participated in competitions. For example, they tried themselves at impersonating the characters and their famous quotes: ‘How you doing?’, ‘I know!’ and ‘They don’t know that we know that they know that we know’.

Results included over 50 pieces of local coverage and 3 federal TV features generated with potential reach of 50M people. The festival attendance totaled 5,500 over the course of 5 days. You might be laughing, but the visitors broke 12 umbrellas in attempt to reproduce the series’ opening scene with the dance around the legendary fountain and orange sofa – which is the success!

Specialist expertise: Purpose Consultancy
Office: Moscow