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How I Ended Up Doing Social Media Marketing for ABC TV's Traveler – Part 1

For a few days earlier this month, I found myself running the social media marketing campaign for ABC TV’s new show, Traveler.

After all, somebody had to.

Allow me to explain…

On May 30, 2007, ABC TV launched a new summer series, Traveler. No doubt inspired by the success of rival FOX’s Prison Break, Traveler follows the misadventures of two young college guys who are on the run from the FBI for a crime they didn’t commit.

The reason they are accused of the crime (the Oklahoma City-esque bombing of a New York City museum) is that one of their college housemates, a sketchy, technologically-savvy guy by the name of Will Traveler, appears to have framed them. Now Will has gone missing, and our two intrepid heroes must track down the elusive Will Traveler in order to clear their names.

Here (below) is a 3-minute trailer for the show that will give you a sense of how the whole thing revolves around the quest to uncover ‘Who is Will Traveler?"

I caught the first episode of the series a day after it premiered, and while I quickly deduced the show wasn’t for me (it was too predictable) I was struck by one thing: ABC and the producers of the show had completely missed the social media boat.

Halfway through the first episode, our heroic college boys are beginning to wonder if this Will Traveler guy they thought was their friend was really who he said he was. They begin to ask themselves questions about his background, and who this Will Traveler may be connected to. Then one of the guys decides to do some research into the mysterious Will Traveler.

Right about this point I’m thinking, OK, here comes the scene where they Google his name. But instead, one of the guys goes over to his girlfriend’s house and rifles through printed (ahem) photos he has of Will Traveler.

When I see that, it suddenly hits me. These are American college kids in 2007. They wouldn’t have a stash of printed photos. All their photos would be on Flickr or Facebook. In fact, why don’t they just log in to their Facebook accounts and do some searching for Will Traveler there?

So that’s what I do.

I log in to Facebook and do a search for Will Traveler thinking, duh, ABC or the producers of the show will have already created a ‘profile’ page for Will Traveler in order to extend the experience of the show. After all, it wouldn’t cost them a penny to do this.

Nothing. Nada. No Will Traveler.

But surely hundreds, if not thousands, of fans of the show would be turning to Facebook to do their own ‘investigation’ into who the mysterious Will Traveler is? Think of the fun ABC or the producers of the show could have with this. Think of the buzz this would generate.

The more I think about this, the more excited I get.

So I do what ABC or the producers of the show should have done in the first place. On May 31, 2007, I create a Facebook profile for "Will Traveler."

And then the fun and games begin…

Stay tuned, as they say in TV land, my Will Traveler story will be continued in a week.


  1. Light & Dark
    Light & Dark June 25, 2007

    Very curious to hear how this shakes out!
    (your “Related Entries” plugin is throwing database errors, by the way.)

  2. Eden Spodek
    Eden Spodek June 25, 2007

    Now I feel like I have to start watching the series so I can have a better understanding of how this whole story comes together. I guess I’ll go check out the facebook group too!

  3. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac June 25, 2007

    Thanks, Paul! We found the error. Fussy databases 🙂

  4. Salima Valji
    Salima Valji June 25, 2007

    Now I am intrigued to watch the show! But I can’t find Will Traveler in facebook! But I did find Will Travelers…. is this the profile you set up?
    Looking forward to hearing how this goes, be sure to provide an update!

  5. Lex
    Lex June 25, 2007

    Brilliant! Can’t wait to see where things go from here.
    It’d certainly be interesting if ABC sees you as augmenting their marketing or hacking their reality. Oh to be a fly on that wall.

  6. ty
    ty June 26, 2007

    Bill, I am eager to read more!

  7. Veronique Christensen
    Veronique Christensen June 29, 2007

    Just caught this post. LOVE the idea — I don’t have a TV, but’ll it’ll be great fun to follow the web story. Brilliant!

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