TCM TikTok Connects With Gen Z Utilizing Marilyn Monroe Movie Clips

  • Turner Classic Movies cultivates TikTok followers to stand out in the crowded television landscape.
  • The cable network advertises films such as Marilyn Monroe’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with viral video clips.
  • TCM’s most popular TikTok post features Judy Garland in “A Star is Born” and has 8.8 million views.

When the executives at Turner Classic Movies wanted to promote the airing of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” on October 7th, they used a marketing tool that would have been unthinkable two years ago, let alone when the Marilyn Monroe classic was released in 1953 first debuted.

In a TikTok post that received more than 5 million views, the brand cut out an iconic scene in which showgirl Lorelei Lee (Monroe) admits she wants to marry her nerdy suitor for his father’s money.

“Honesty is the best policy,” reads the caption next to a comment detailing how to watch the film.

Likes and comments increased. “Ok just recorded it on DRV. Super excited,” wrote one fan.

In the peak of television, with a new streamer coming out every few months with the required prestige program, it is not easy for a simple cable network to stand out, especially one whose brand is based on decades-old films.

TCM, owned by WarnerMedia, isn’t waiting for a new generation of classic movie buffs to discover its program. It’s about meeting that audience where they are.

“TikTok is a perfect place for us because we can convey the joy of this classic movie experience with actors who people know and love in a way that enables them to connect with these icons today,” said Tricia Melton , a WarnerMedia CMO whose portfolio includes TCM. When promoting a film on the platform, she added, “Get it out from behind the glass and make it part of the conversation.”

TCM – which has been rebranded with an updated logo and new slogan “Where Then Meets Now” – launched its TikTok in October 2020 and put 24-year-old former intern Caroline Wigmore at the head of the account.

“I got into the job as a classic movie buff,” said Wigmore, who is part of a team of three. Together they have increased the account to 364,000 followers and a total of 8.8 million likes for posts, which often combine clips from the TCM film library with current TikTok trends.

For example, in June, when the hot girl summer meme was taking off, TCM posted a video of Natalie Wood in Sex and the Single Girl dancing around the house and saying, “And I’ll insist on the law , have as many love affairs as I want. ” It has over 3 million views.

Wigmore said she loves finding ways to “bridge the gap” between pop culture phenomena and iconic movie moments. “Every time I see a beauty trend, I think, ‘I can think of a movie that was about 60 years ago.'”

When TCM uploaded a clip from “Singin ‘in the Rain”, Wigmore was surprised by the deluge of comments from fans of the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” in the mid-2000s who didn’t know an episode was happening entitled “Lip Syncin ‘in the Rain,” was inspired by MGM’s 1952 musical Gene Kelly.

Although TCM’s following on TikTok is smaller than other media brands –

Netflix
has 17.9 million fans on the platform and Lionsgate has more than 2 million – it has a good hit rate. The most viewed entry is an April clip by Judy Garland in “A Star is Born” with 8.8 million views.

Other popular posts include Ginger Rogers in Top Hat (2 million views) and Louis Armstrong in High Society (2 million). Videos from icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly tend to do well.

“They found a way to cast their voice on our platform in a way that resonates with users,” said Catherine Halaby, director of entertainment partnerships at TikTok, adding that TCM taps the thirst for nostalgic content.

Wigmore first generates ideas from the cable network’s schedule. Once she has a concept, she can access the full TCM library to find the right clip. Melton added that the company is “actively encouraging” the TikTok team to run down its assets.

Wigmore runs under this Creative License; She often sets a classic clip to music or gives it an expressive, trendy caption.

“It’s a pretty good life,” she said.

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