An inside look at ‘Nashville’s’ Tumblr competition to design Rayna Jaymes’ album cover

By Natan Edelsburg 

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 3.09.35 PMFans of ABC’s hit show, Nashville were recently given a big treat for being social TV fans of the show. The network announced an extremely smart competition on Tumblr to design Rayna Jaymes’ (one of the main characters of the show played by Connie Britton) new album cover. Tumblr has always been a huge platform for fan art and now that fan art is actually going to be given a chance to be incorporated into the actual show. We are excited to announce that on Wednesday the winner will be revealed here first on In anticipation of the big announcement, we interviewed Ben Blatt, ABC’s Executive Director of Marketing who also spoke at the Lost Remote LA Show last December. 

Blatt discusses how their Tumblr growth has increased by 550% since the competition started and how unique it is for a competition like this to exist for a scripted show. This is a perfect example of how Tumblr is being used to draw in fans and even get them to tune in. Tumblr, themselves continues to invest in social TV, including a big research report they recently released with Pulsar.


Lost Remote: Why did ABC decide to launch this Tumblr competition for Nashville?
Ben Blatt: We decided to launch this Tumblr competition for Nashville because we wanted to create an opportunity for our current fans and audiences who are still discovering this story to see something they created become a part of the show. The strategy behind it was to combine a social media component and an on-air payoff element that Nashville fans would be able to see incorporated into the series. Typically social media engagement with a primetime show is limited to competition reality programming only but we feel as though there are creative ways to integrate this type of fan activity into scripted shows as well with the right lead time.

LR: How has the Nashville Tumblr grown since the show started?
Blatt: The Nashville blog follower account continues to grow and has increased 550% since we launched the contest. Reblogs were up 22x which is an outstanding statistic because Tumblr is a platform that is measured best on how content is shared versus individual accounts that have a high number of followers. The goal of our presence on Tumblr is to engage people with the ‘best in class’ content related to our shows, but more importantly have them become content creators as well to further display their love for the characters and story lines. This contest allows us to do so in a controlled environment by rewarding fans for their creativity and we expect it to continue to have a downstream benefit directly tied to the show on Tumblr.

LR: If possible to discuss, how have the entries been so far?
Blatt: The entries were very creative. We were thrilled to see how many of the submissions had shown amazing design talent. It was hard to choose the top 10 semi-finalists, but they were truly outstanding. These 10 entries were placed on our Nashville Facebook page and the 5 entries that had the most fan votes were named finalists and have been sent to the show producers who ultimately chose the winner. You can view the 5 finalists here.

LR: Anything else to add about the social TV strategy for the show?
Blatt: The Nashville fans (also known as #Nashies) are the heart and soul that continues to push the show forward. Our social media strategy is to engage them in new and creative ways throughout the season and reward them for their loyalty. Music is a big part of this series and we ensure to keep our fans engaged on social media with everything they want and need to know about the songs and performances and where they could purchase and stream them. Ultimately the show is about the characters but we believe social media affords us the opportunity to bring fans into the Nashville Music scene and this contest was part of that strategy.