At its peak, Shameless was one of the biggest shows on UK television. Focusing on working-class culture and the eccentric Gallagher family, the show won countless awards and reached an audience peak of 3.5 million fans. While it came to an end in 2013, the show has certainly cemented itself into TV folklore.
On the back of its success, a US version of the show was launched in 2011 and has been equally popular. The stateside version followed the UK storyline for two seasons before going in a new direction with the Gallagher family story. Like the original, season eleven of the show will be its last.
To promote the final season, Showtime is pulling out all the stops. They've partnered with Community to allow fans of the show to engage with Frank Gallanger and his family group chat via SMS.
Showtime tweeted a short poem which asked fans if they'd buy Frank Gallagher a beer or two. Fans who texted the number would then be sent an automated reply to ask if they were a U.S. resident and over 18 years old. Those who answered yes would then be added to a Gallagher Family group chat which encourages them to interact with members of the family.
Those who opted-in are expected to receive around two or three texts each week, with family members asking questions around Valentine's Day and other key events. What makes the campaign interesting is that Showtime worked directly with the producer of the show to ensure that the group chat uses the right tone of voice when characters reply.
Overall, we think this is a great example of how SMS can be used for out-of-the-box campaigns that are both personalised and interactive. Lots of people view text messaging as a traditional channel with limited flexibility but that is absolutely not the case. We're expecting to see more shows and movies to launch similar campaigns moving forward. Great work, Showtime.