In a themed stunt that shouldn’t really surprise anyone, #WeedWeek is coming to the Viceland Network, starting 4/17 and ending (yup!) on 4/20.
In an effort to reach new and bloodshot eyeballs, the network is bringing back two of their flagship series — “Weediquette” with Krishna Andavolu, and recent James Beard Award-nominee “Bong Appetit” with Abdullah Saeed — as well as a special 4/20 episode of Action Bronson’s “F*ck, That’s Delicious.”
To celebrate/generate buzz, they’ve also launched a new hotline you can call while, uh, taking an elevation break, and discuss a range of topics you suddenly have a lot of profound thoughts on: Press 2 for the “Question of the Week” (this week it’s climate change); Press 3 to discuss Tax Season; Press 4 to discuss Marijuana in general; or you can just press “0” and ramble on about something “hopeful.”
An electronic voice immediately cuts in over the ring tone to make you aware that everything you say will be recorded for use on air and online — as any Viceland viewer would expect, given the network’s long-standing and brand-framing use of these voicemails in its bumpers and promos.
This, of course, is only the latest in a series of increasingly outlandish real-world stunts that networks have hatched up in order to generate buzz for their shows in an every-noisier media and festival environment.
Most recently, a Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant popped up in downtown Los Angeles and New York City to build buzz for the Season 3 premiere of AMC’s “Better Call Saul” on April 10, with fans of both “Saul” and “Breaking Bad” lining up around the block. At this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Hulu had the internet buzzing with groups of women quietly skulking around town dressed as Handmaids from their upcoming series “The Handmaid’s Tale” which premieres April 29th, and Starz installed a huge white buffalo downtown in support of its “American Gods” (April 30).
When Netflix brought the beloved series “Arrested Development” back for a new season in 2013, they took the iconic “Bluth Banana Stand” on the road, setting up in key cities across the country and even having series favorites Jason Bateman and Will Arnett lend a little star power at select stops.
Of course, one of the all-time greatest promo stunts remains way back in 2004, when “Scrubs” gave out a live phone number during an episode. Viewers who were savvy enough to realize Turk’s new cell phone number didn’t start with a “555” and called it up were treated to a delightful conversation with whomever happened to be on set at the time.
Sadly, 916-Call-Turk is no longer connected to the set.