In January of 2016, Netflix and Warner Brothers announced the revival and later on the in the year, the official airing date was set for November 25th. Fans were floored by the news and word spread quickly. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, however, that news broke that Luke’s Diner popups would be appearing across the country for one day at local coffee establishments. As you can imagine, fans dressed up as their favorite characters and flocked to their nearest locations on October 5th.
If you’re like me, you have fond memories of watching Gilmore Girls with your siblings. My sisters and I would plop ourselves in front of the tv and salivate over Jess Mariano and laugh at the quick and witty lines of the endearing characters of Stars Hollow. Quite some time has passed since those days, but I still get all warm and fuzzy when I hear the opening lines of “Where You Lead.”
Imagine my utter disappointment when I called our local coffee establishment only to find out that they had indeed ran out of Luke’s Diner cups and my efforts to get there before they closed would be fruitless. A pathetic “oy vey” slipped from my lips and I resigned to the fact that I would have to share in the fandom in the only way I know how — through the analysis of the marketing efforts of the Gilmore Girl’s team.
Here are my three main takeaways from the Luke’s Diner popups:
It Raised Grassroots Buzz by Leveraging Local Coffee Shops
Not only did the popups bring an influx of commerce to local coffee shops, but they also increased buzz all over the country by using regional establishments.
Any comeback of any show will be blasted via advertising—Facebook ads, Netflix banners, Spotify ads, etc. It makes sense. They want people to tune in! What Gilmore Girls did with Luke’s Diner pop-ups, however, was empower local markets to do all the communications for them.
The stores were promoting the one day event in their immediate cities while excited-out-of-their-minds fans participated by spreading the word through social media about the experience. The resulting effect? An effort that penetrated through the noise and leveraged the multiplying effect of cities.
In addition to all of the excitement that was created by the campaign alone, celebrities from the show made special appearances at a few select locations, which only increased the overall stir.
Made a Fictional Plot Seem Real for One Day
If there’s one main thing that Comic-Con can teach us, it’s that fans love to live out their favorite tv shows and fictions. When you’re watching Gilmore Girls, you can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy. You want to live in the world where there are monthly town hall meetings that is attended by some of Connecticut’s quirkiest townspeople. It’s a fantasy that every fan wishes they could be a part of. They want to become part of the Stars Hollow community.
The Luke’s Diner popup’s brought Stars Hollow to life for one day. Fans camped outside of local coffee shops and waited for hours just to catch a glimpse of the once-in-a-life-time attraction. They had the ability to dress up as their favorite characters from the show and commemorate with each other. A community to Gilmore Girl’s fans felt like a hometown Stars Hollow.
It Gave Back to the Fandom
Fans are devoted. They will vouch for their favorite shows until they’re blue in the face. Even newer fans become diehard supporters in a short amount of time. Viewers are the ones who keep the show going. It’s their interest and devotion that allows everyone in the filming studio to do what they love.
Not only did the Luke’s Diner popup’s turn a fantasy into a reality for one day, but it also gave back to the fans for the unwavering support. Without the fans, the show would not have had a seven year run. The sincerity in their efforts showed and was a large factor in the success of the campaign.
The Luke’s pop-up campaign was a stroke of genius. It thought outside the box and hit home, literally, with fans.