The Travel Channel Unleashes “Yetis” in New York City
To create buzz and drive tune-in for its four-part special, “Expedition Unknown: Hunt for the Yeti,” The Travel Channel unleashed a band of brand ambassadors dressed as the Himalaya’s hairy white Abominable Snowman in New York City in a one-day stunt that also involved ice sculptures, a mobile iced coffee truck and a double-decker bus. Throughout the day, three Facebook Live videos hosted by The Travel Channel’s Caitlin Dunn amplified the event to nearly 100,000 fans who tuned in to watch the antics. Passersby also shared the fun on social media.
The Travel Channel mini series chronicles host Josh Gates’ quest to find the Yeti, a legendary man-ape living in the high altitude of the Himalayas. Throughout the hunt, billed as “the mother of all hunting expeditions,” Gates met with world-renowned researchers and explorers as he followed up on history’s most credible accounts, gained access to ancient artifacts and investigated the most recent sightings of the so-called Abominable Snowman.
The stunt was as big and badass as the hairy creature itself. The first sighting took place the day before as the Yeti, joined by Travel Channel executives, rang the New York Stock Exchange closing bell. The ceremony touted the premiere of the program, while the on-air promo played on a continuous loop on NASDAQ’s outdoor video monitor in Times Square. The next day, a team of 36 costumed Yetis took to the streets of Manhattan in a branded double-decker bus, surprising locals and tourists alike in an unexpected press stunt in Flatiron Plaza. After performing a parody of Lauren Hill’s “Ready or Not,” the Yetis boarded the bus and traveled around the city, interacting with fans and posing for photos at iconic stops, including an appearance on ABC’s “The View” and an on-air NBC “Today” show sighting.
Beyond the bus, a branded coffee truck distributed free iced coffees in Herald Square and Union Square. A live ice sculpting demonstration took place at Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza where two seven-foot-tall, 6,500-pound Yeti-themed ice sculptures also were on display. For social media, a customized Snapchat geofilter was created for each of the key areas of the activation. Facebook Live videos by Travel Channel’s Dunn captured key moments including the Yetis performing a choreographed dance in Flatiron, a live feed of the ice sculptors and an exclusive Yeti “interview.”
Results were as huge as the elusive shaggy ape-man himself. Hashtags #ExpeditionUnknown and #HuntfortheYeti generated more than 2,000 Instagram and Twitter mentions. The Facebook Live videos garnered more than 96,000 views, 600 reactions and 200 shares. The stunt helped solidify the program as one of the top 20 ad-supported cable shows for its timeslot among adults 25 to 54, with seven million viewers tuning in.