Why BET's #MJInTheCity Campaign Is Smart Marketing

It’s no secret that I’m in love with social media and marketing. And there’s nothing that makes me smile more than witnessing a brand doing them both exceptionally well. I recently came across a post from BET promoting the new season of Being Mary Jane on my Facebook feed. To the average viewer, it's just an ad. To me, it's social media marketing magic.

Most brands have a tough time with engagement. Figuring out a way to incorporate their message, their audience, and their goals into one solid campaign. And BET did it all perfectly.

To avoid giving out any unnecessary spoilers, I'll simply say that Being Mary Jane is about a black professional woman in Atlanta navigating both her career and her life. It's painfully relatable to women like me, which is what makes it such a great show. The new season premieres January 10, and this time Mary Jane is moving to New York. In an effort to promote this new season and this new location change, BET took to social media, creating #MJInTheCity.

Using that same relatability found in the show's content, the folks behind this campaign pulled Mary Jane off the television screen and into our reality. She's real, and she's coming to your city. In the ad, Mary Jane asks for insight on places to see, eat, and meet guys in New York City, requesting you use the hashtag #MJInTheCity, of course.

And guess what? People responded. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram. With restaurant suggestions, hot spots, and more.

Why would people respond to a fictional character? Because a good campaign is supposed to spark conversation. Storytelling is supposed to feel real, even if it's not. Social media gives a brand's audience, whether that's a company or a TV show, a chance to interact and become apart of that brand's story. And who doesn't love the opportunity to brag on their city?  

It's like your old college girlfriend who hits you up and says, "Hey, girl! I'm coming to town!" You can't wait to show her all of the best happy hour spots and sushi bars so you two can catch up about life. Mary Jane is that friend.

As a result, the more people use the #MJInTheCity hashtag, the more it will trend. Those who already watch the show will get excited for the new season to air. Those who didn't finish the last season or two will be amped to binge-watch before January 10th. And those who've never seen the show will want to see what all the hype is about.

BET pushed the new storyline of MJ's move, incorporated audience conversation into the mix, and worked towards the overarching goal: getting people to watch the new season of Being Mary Jane, all in one 30 second clip.

It's simple. It's smart. It's exactly what social media is about. And I love it.