No. It’s not your imagination. Adam Conover really is almost everywhere you look these days thanks to truTV’s multi-faceted marketing campaign promoting season two of Conover’s series Adam Ruins Everything, which premiered Tuesday, July 11.
In addition to truTV’s on-air spots, promos are popping up all over cable, digital, social media, podcasts, Pandora, and Spotify—even via good old-fashioned out-of-home advertising. The social and digital efforts are important, since Conover got his start at CollegeHumor.com, and that demographic still comprises a good part of his audience.
“On truTV he’s aged up slightly, which is good because that’s our sweet spot—early 30s, and pretty gender-balanced,” says Puja Vohra, truTV’s EVP of marketing and digital. “He, as a character on the show, is very close to who he is individually as his authentic self—that slightly know-it-all, highly enthusiastic, passionate ‘I’m going to tell you what I think even if you don’t want to hear it’ person. So we just kind of leaned into that,” to promote the new season.
With the bulk of creative done in-house, Vohra’s team benefits from the support of virtually all truTV departments, all the way from programming to media relations.
“On the key art side we do have designers, but we also use this agency called Arsonal —they do a lot of work for other cable networks as well. They’re based in LA and their team loves Adam. The key art last year was done by them, and this year as well.”
That key art plays off Conover’s boyish persona.
“We came up with a bunch of approaches, but really loved this one with him and the merit badges—almost like a Boy Scout, but in a suit with the merit badges on a sash representing his various ruins,” Vohra says. It’s also used in print and on-air.
The video side of the campaign, developed in house, involves a mock trial with Conover answering charges of ruining various industries or businesses with a chipper “You’re welcome!”
“We have a few versions of that, and the ruins are nods to some of the bigger ruins he’s done,” Vohra says. “And there are people behind him cheering because he’s on their side. He’s ruined all of those things to their benefit.”
Essentially, it’s an extension of the Adam for the People message that worked so well in promoting the second half of season one.
This season’s out-of-home component—on double-decker tour busses in New York and LA, subway 2-sheets in New York, bus shelters, and a lot of billboards, especially in LA—is a slightly larger percent of the show’s overall marketing mix because it happens to be concurrent with Emmy season.
Adam Ruins Everything is so important to truTV that they work to engage viewers between seasons, too.
“We try very hard to keep Adam alive on our air year-round,” Vohra says. “Last year we did Adam interrupters—short 30-seconds where he ruined smaller things, like Mother’s Day, and then we timed them accordingly. This year we did short Q&As with Adam based on questions his fans have asked him—what does fake news mean, what are his origins. It’s to make sure our audience knows him and because they’re always hungry for his content. He does well on digital all year round.”
In true bipartisan fashion, Conover “ruined” the Electoral College in season one, before last year’s presidential election made it front-page news.
“After the election, all we did was repost it and I think it got over 20 million views. And we didn’t put any money toward that. It was all organic,” Vohra says. “In a way, it’s easy to market the show because we just go with who Adam is.”