TVNZ aims to keep Shorty addicts hooked during five-week hiatus

Shortland Street may be taking a break for the summer, but the drama isn’t.

While the actors enjoy some time off camera, TVNZ Blacksand has launched a new campaign to keep audiences engaged until the programme returns on 18 January.

Feeding off fans’ desperation to find out who will live and who will die, following the gripping events in finale, weekly clues will be revealed over the five-week hiatus in “The Living Moment” campaign allowing for discussion and speculation.

Executive creative director at TVNZ Blacksand Jens Hertzum says they have been building up to the campaign over the last few weeks with the tagline “you can’t stop what’s coming”, but that was just phase one.

Phase two begins after the finale when a promo video is shown on air. It will prompt viewers to visit the campaign’s microsite, thelivingmoment.co.nz, where the clues will be revealed in a new video each week.

Each video is a new layer of the promo video, accessible via clickable hotspots thanks to Wirewax software.

“You can go online and you can click on hotspots once a week and unlock an extra bit of value added video that takes you further and deeper into the story and the characters of Shortland Street and through this process, once a week, you can begin to figure who will survive and who may not survive the horrific events.”

Hertzum says loyal fans will be sent passwords each Friday via social media channels, such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, allowing them to unlock the video each Friday.

The videos will then be unlocked the following Monday for all to watch, and also broadcast on TV2 throughout that week.

A similar campaign called ‘The End‘ was created for the 2013/2014 summer hiatus after the programme’s explosive finale left two characters dead. An online “clue hunt” allowed fans to go online everyday and unlock clues including images, recordings and anagrams.

Daily viewers for the campaign’s website reached 17,000, with over 3 million page views in total.

A 53.5 percent share on the 2014 series return after that hiatus made the campaign a success – even after Jono and Ben tried to give away what happened. They guessed right, telling audiences it was Roimata who died.

Hertzum says viewers also enjoyed last year’s campaign, in which a website was created for fans to upload tributes to the character Sarah Potts, who died of a mystery illness.

TVNZ hopes this year’s campaign will be the best to date as Wirewax has allowed video to be used in a new way.

“So this is a kind of newer more refined version,” Hertzum says.

“It’s the first time I think anyone has used Wirewax for this purpose for promoting a show such as Shortland Street.” 

By putting the videos on air, ‘The Living Moment’ will also have a greater reach than those in previous years.

Hertzum says fans will “go bonkers” for it and even those who aren’t loyalists will enjoy it.

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