Theresa Beyer, AMC's vice president of activation, wants to "raise some hell" with the network's latest marketing push.
Looking to drive tune-in for the second-season premiere and sophomore campaign of its western, manifest destiny series Hell on Wheels, AMC is partnering with the Zac Brown Band. The crossover country, southern rock act -- on the road touting its album Uncaged and single "The Wind," which recently debuted as No. 1 on the country charts -- is central to radio and sweepstakes initiatives.
Promoted on AMC's air and online, at amc.tv, RaiseHellAMC.com and social media from Aug. 3-27, the "Raise Hell Sweepstakes" will send one winner and a guest to The Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in both Nashville on Sept. 21-22 and Charleston, S.C. on Oct. 20-21. In addition to paid accommodations for both venues, the winner will receive a private meet-and-greet with the band.
On the radio side, AMC is working with 40 stations in 20 key markets to stoke tune-in and flag another sweepstakes that will yield two-day passes to the Nashville event, plus personal interaction time with the group.
Beyer said the push to work with Zac Brown Band, which she calls the "Dave Matthews of country," with its large, diverse fan base, followed AMC's promotion with country artist Jason Aldean centered around the Country Music Awards last year.
"We had great success with ‘AMC's Hell on Wheels Train to the CMA Awards with Jason Aldean. We wanted to see who was out there and going on tour. The Zac Brown Band had a new album it's promoting, so the timing is perfect," said Beyer, who added that band members "look like they're from the Civil War era on the cover of their new album."
AMC is keeping that theme in play, as it will set up Hell on Wheels-style "mess tents" at the festivals. These food areas, evocative of the rolling towns that are integral to the show and its characters' building of the continental railroad, "will be easy to spot and we're working toward getting talent there," said Beyer. TV monitors featuring the series, as well as other signage and mentions on-site, are part of the marketing mix.
The band will also play a big role via social tweeting (some 300,000 followers) and writing on its Facebook page that counts some 5 million friends.
"For those who have not seen yet seen Hell on Wheels, we think that when their favorite band's talking about it, they're going to want to check it out."
The second season is on track to debut on Sunday, August 12 at 9 p.m. (ET).