Amazing Data From Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart’s Social Bromance

Kicks the stuffing out of Oreo on Twitter, beats Coke on Facebook

Headshot of Christopher Heine

If anyone has had more fun promoting a Broadway production than Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, it must have included a hearty diet of adult beverages and illegal drugs.

The pair of legendary actors wowed social media users while pushing their No Man's Land/Waiting for Godot twinbill, which ran from Oct. 1 through March 31. It's worth noting that—outside donning their Godot play hats and occasionally using a #twoplaysinrep hashtag—the duo's marketing was fairly subtle. They didn't cheesily hold up "No Man's Land" signs or wear branded tee shirts, instead focusing on goofing around like chums. Though their digital shenanigans racked up a whopping 600 million impressions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, per exclusive data from Shareablee.

During the six-month period, said the social data company, Stewart tweeted 105 times, garnering about 500,000 retweets and favorites. For sake of comparison, Oreo—widely considered a social branding juggernaut—received some 46,300 Twitter retweets/favorites during the same period, according to Shareablee.

Here are five other fun facts from Shareablee:

  1. McKellen was more active than Stewart on Facebook, as the former built his audience to two million fans and received nearly 2.7 million likes, shares and comments. That total is more than double what Coca-Cola saw in the same period with 1.2 million of such actions. Frankly, given Coke's Facebook prowess, that seems incredible.
  2. And the guy who played Gandalf posted 500 pieces of content across platforms, besting Jean-Luc Picard four times over. It worked splendidly for McKellen, engaging nearly 3 million social media users. 
  3. McKellen posted 52 Instagram photos, averaging close to 8,000 people engaged per item.
  4. Stewart finished the Twitter aspect of his efforts on fire, tweeting 27 times in March to the tune of nearly 100,000 retweets and favorites.
  5. McKellen and Stewart received their highest engagement rates when they posted together. Check out their examples below.



@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.