Rick and Morty is an adult animated show on Adult Swim that follows Rick, a cynical, alcoholic scientific genius, and Morty, his pubescent, dull and anxious grandson as they travel throughout time, space and different dimensions. Rick and Morty’s use of pop culture references, real scientific theories and outlandish intellectual humor have attracted a very specific audience, mostly composed of young adults. To target this group, Carrot Creative digital agency created the Rickstaverse, an interactive Instagram account where users can explore the different worlds featured in the show and find Easter eggs, exclusive features and clips from future episodes. The popular video game, fandom and tech website, The Nerdist, described it as “a rabbit hole of worm holes” (Anderson 2015). They launched on July 19 of last year and quickly gained the attention of fans and media marketing experts alike for its creativity and how it is tailored to the interests of the audience.
The Rickstaverse, or Rickstagram, account utilizes the complex universe portrayed of the show as well as the dedication of its fans to gain traction. Fans are traditionally most interested in the show’s complex network of worlds, characters and sub-plot nuances that the Rickstaverse focuses on. Its many layers and intricacies are what appeals to most of the fans. This is why the main account connects to over 80 other accounts and is comprised of some 1200 images that explore these worlds. It quickly gained 28MM impressions and 78K+ followers, which resulted in a 142% or 2.42x increase in average daily mentions of the show (“Rickstaverse-Shorty Awards” 2016).
Rick and Morty has been recognized by several reputable business, marketing and media websites and organizations for its creativity on social media. Linkedin praised Rick and Morty’s Rickstagram account in their article about marketing wins by Rick and Morty’s social media platforms. They specifically point out the genius of the Rickstagram for “utilizing its user-driven advertising efficiently (they don’t have to post daily anymore) and effectively (users actively engaging).” (Testa 2016). The Rickstagram was also nominated for a Gold distinction in Creative use of Technology by the Shorty Awards, which awards outstanding online social presences (“Rickstaverse-The Shorty Awards” 2016). Additionally, Business Insider also recognized the Rickstagram as being “genius” and provided instructions on how to navigate the online world. They deemed it “a crazy game on the social platform that allows users to explore the multi-universes of the show further” (Phillips 2015). Rick and Morty is a uniquely unconventional show that has a dedicated fan base that values its complexities and nuances. The Rickstaverse leverages this in order to further involve fans and has received the attention and recognition to prove that they’re doing it right.
Anderson, Kyle. “Explore RICK AND MORTY’s Rickstaverse on Instagram.” Nerdist. July 23, 2015. Accessed October 08, 2016.
Phillips, Ian. “This Instagram Adventure of Twists and Turns through the World of Adult Swim’s ‘Rick and Morty’ Is Genius.” Business Insider. July 30, 2015. Accessed October 10, 2016.
“Rickstaverse – The Shorty Awards.” Rickstaverse – The Shorty Awards. Accessed October 07, 2016.
Stark, Chelsea. “Instagram Gets Its First Game, Inspired by the World of ‘Rick and Morty'” Mashable. July 23, 2015. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Testa, Rob. “3 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn From Rick And Morty.” Linkedin. January 10, 2016.
Mikayla Varunok is a junior @TheUniversityofVermont , majoring in #PublicCommunications and minoring in #GenderSexualityandWomensStudies.
Robert Williams, Ph.D., University of Vermont Professor of Media/Communication.