Lippe Taylor

Ancestry

Creating a Viral Fly Wheel with Ancestry.com Culture Jacking

When the trailer for the new Mr. Rogers movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood first dropped, the internet was abuzz with amazement at how closely Tom Hanks mirrored Fred Rogers. That sparked the question… what if Tom Hanks was, in fact, related to Mr. Rogers?

Tom Hanks

Working with Ancestry’s internal teams we discovered that Tom Hanks was in fact related to Mr. Rogers (they share the same great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather). We were pretty sure that Hanks had no idea this connection existed, and believed we could use the reveal as a way of driving cultural relevance for Ancestry. The only challenge was ensuring that Ancestry got properly included in the conversation. We developed a key visual with appropriate branding to ensure that Ancestry was pulled through every touch point.

Tom Hanks and Fred Rogers

For the big reveal, we decided to work with Access Hollywood and surprise Tom Hanks live on the red carpet for his movie premier with the revelation that he was in fact related to Mr. Rogers.

Tom Hanks

The revelation had the desired effect and our team pushed the news cycle through editorial and social media, until it became a viral flywheel. In total, the moment generated over 500 news stories and nearly 1.5 billion media impressions. Articles were shared over a million times and Ancestry trended as part of the theatrical release for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

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