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Teaser Terror

Published on September 23, 2016, at 3:56 p.m.
by Lynn Brantley.

Question Mark, Six (?6) has left “American Horror Story” (AHS) fans stumped the past several months. The logo has become a symbol of curiosity, anticipation and the heebie jeebies as season six of the FX Network horror drama series released its teasers.

FX released 26 different “AHS” teasers leading up to the September premier of the new season. Each clip lasts about 30 seconds and incorporates creepy crawlers, torture and unidentified creatures, but most importantly, no indication to what the upcoming theme would be.

“AHS” and FX pushed the teasers on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where fans of the series shared, retweeted and tagged peers, generating buzz. Eagerness emerged from its loyal fans and sparked an interest in new, potential viewers. One specific @AHSFX teaser tweet reached more than 47,000 retweets and 37,000 favorites.

The eerie presentations were less about the publicity and more about the message and how to generate emotions within consumers. Its promotional push has been impressive — not so much through the amount of social media engagement, but through old-fashioned word of mouth because interpersonal connectivity creates those emotions.

“Have you seen the newest ‘AHS’ trailer? What is the theme going to be?” develops conversations between fans that has led to the frustration of the unknown.

Many TV shows can learn from the groundbreaking drama’s promotional tactics, which seem to follow the saying, “The less you know, the better.” A trailer isn’t supposed to give you a full synopsis of the show; rather it’s supposed to leave you with a cliffhanger and persuade you to take time out of your day to tune in. “AHS” took the risk of producing 26 potential cliffhangers.

“AHS” has kept its name authentic and unique, keeping its audience hooked season after season. Fans know every episode is going to make them scream and squeeze the arm of the person next to them. Viewers’ confidence in the show has given the FX marketing team the ability to produce the most vague teasers, knowing there are always fans who will watch.

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