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  • Kristin Bundesen, PhD

Outlander Business

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Claire and Jamie fresh off the boat from Scotland

I admit that my Facebook feed is heavy on Outlander, but a bit of time spent on YouTube will demonstrate to anyone that the premiere of Outlander season two tonight in the US is big business. Aside from the magazine stories and the infotainment industry blitz, some other fairly canny marketing ploys have taken place making it nigh on impossible to ignore the show. 

As Outlander's viewership increases, what seemed like a contrived rivalry between Outlander and Game of Thrones was turned into a clever season two teaser targeting fans of both shows.  “Forget winter. Spring is coming.”

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan pose in front of Saks Fifth Avenue Outlander window display

Saks Fifth Avenue - THE Saks Fifth Avenue on 5th Avenue - devoted 4 windows to displaying season two costumes. As a large chunk of season two takes place in 18th century France, the costumes are elaborate. The stars, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, along with costume designer Terry Dresbach, stopped by for a photo op.

Today, Sam was grand marshal of the annual Tartan Day Parade on 6th Avenue. The rain just lent an authentic Scottish aura to the event. Live video and tons of pictures started cropping up on all the fan group pages. Sam appeared to be his charming enthusiastic self wearing a purple-hued kilt. Speculation is that it's a tartan from his mother's family - but this is unsubstantiated.

The NYC premiere was held at the American Museum of Natural History. red carpets were in full force. An hour and 20 minute panel moderated by CBS news correspondent Michelle Miller. this alone moves the show from a fan/geek niche, see endless interviews during season one by Kristin Dos Santos of EW, into the mainstream publicity machine.

Members of the entertainment press apparently have been given access to several season 2 episodes, if not the entire season. It's hard to tell from the stray comments. I am NOT a member of this group and so am reduced to watching the first episode via the STARZ app on my iPad. I'm guessing it's not the same experience.

Because of this media strategy though, hints are emerging of 'sex while pregnant' scenes to come. Is sex while pregnant something to be shocked about? This would be quite in line with both the books and the first season which challenged some sexual norms - at least for TV. Something to stay tuned for.....

[Originally published April 9, 2016]

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