For one week every year, marketers turn into predators, and this year might be the most dangerous yet. I'm talking about Discovery Channel's Shark Week, which was moved up a month this year, likely in an effort to garner more advertising attention by shifting out of the doldrums of vacation-laden August, and capitalize on the post-4th of July summer momentum.
28 years in the making, Shark Week has morphed from a slightly obscure cult favorite to the television event of the summer. Last year, Shark Week drew 29 millions viewers, 10 million Facebook interactions, and it was the most-watched programming among the coveted 18-49 age demographic, the majority of those being women. And this year, marketers are scrambling for chum.
Volkswagen is back as sponsor this year, touting the new golf as a misunderstood shark, and Billy Idol sings the anthem. Coincidentally, Jaws celebrates it's 40th anniversary this year, giving marketers even more of a reason to tap sharks for seasonal branding opportunities.
Shark Week still strikes that curious balance between tongue-in-cheek self-parody and mainstream entertainment, and it's interesting to see how brands toe the line and poke a little fun. This year, the tweets have been creative and offbeat. Some of my favorites include Dunkin' Donuts collaboration with Vine stars Gabe Erwin and Trey Kennedy, Jamba Juice's Jaws nod, and Coca-Cola's irresistibly simple take. Here are some more highlights: