Comedy Central thinks it has a #winning social media strategy for Charlie Sheen's roast — including a bigger emphasis on Twitter and a multi-part digital dashboard that will allow users to see trending topics and watch Sheen's every reaction to the jokes at his expense.
When the network roasted Donald Trump in March, it put a hashtag on the screen and convinced many of the roasters to interact with viewers while the taped show was airing.
Combine that with Sheen's emergence as a Twitter phenomenon and Comedy Central decided to make social media an even bigger part of the Sheen roast, a strategy first reported by Mashable.
"The Charlie Sheen Roast is one of our biggest events of the year and we wanted to do something big and cool with it," said Steve Grimes, Comedy Central's Senior Vice President of Digital Media, told TheWrap.
In its promotional blitz for the show, which was recorded Sept. 10, the network has identified two Twitter hashtags, #SheenRoast and #CrazyTrain. #SheenRoast will be ubiquitous during the show, while each roaster will have their twitter handles appear during their performances.
But the real innovation is in the dashboard, which is debuting for this event. In addition to promotions about it on Facebook and Twitter, everyone going to the site will be redirected to the dashboard unless they choose otherwise.
"We looked at how do we create a companion device that will — from a user's point of view — allow them to see what is going on, share moments and talk," Grimes said.
Comedy Central will track tweets by volume in the "Share the Burn" section, and has already selected certain clips to post underneath the timeline for users to share via social media sites.
"We have curated it," Grimes said. "It's all about that real-time ‘holy shit, something amazing is going on’ moment."
The most complex part of the dashboard is the "Hot on Twitter" section," which facilitates interaction with and about Sheen and his roasters. The face of each person on stage will be displayed, with the size of that person’s head indicating his or her popularity.
User can click on a head to see the person's full Twitter feed or see a list of his or her jokes.
Grimes said that the Trump Roast was where the experimentation began, but that more importantly it revealed the possibility for even more engagement. Roasts and Twitter go hand in hand both because a roast is a live event — for which Twitter is an ideal platform — and because comedians have taken to Twitter.