In a recent panel at the 2022 Wells Fargo TMT Summit, WWE Chairwoman and co-CEO Stephanie McMahon discussed several topics, including the return of Bray Wyatt to the WWE.

“When you think about the changes that Paul’s made, the talent that he has brought back, but not only just bringing back stars, but how he is doing that. For example, we were bringing back one of our biggest stars named Bray Wyatt, whose character is a little bit of a cult-type leader, and we used a multimedia approach and hired a horror writer, Rob Fee, to come in and really help us craft this narrative so that our fans were engaged.

We started doing QR codes randomly in the background, like if a QR code just popped up behind us and you guys clicked on it, it took you to a link, there is no QR code, but it took you to a link where there was a hangman game, and then you saw this white rabbit show up, it’s what we called The White Rabbit Project, but anyway, there were interactive games, there were different misleads, we even had one puzzle that if you figured it out, it was coordinates to a record store in a place called Corbin, Kentucky, which was called White Rabbit Records and it happened to be that the people at the White Rabbit Records store played along, because our fans would call and they would be like, what’s going on, is someone returning, what’s happening with WWE and they would use some of the language that we were using in the campaign and hang up the phone and fans were so engaged.

We found that when we drove people to particular events, one of the codes drove us to a date and that date happened to be the SmackDown that was happening, it could have been a date or a time-code, so September 23rd, or it was 9:23 and at 9:23 we saw our viewership increase on SmackDown 20% over that time period. It was a much more specific moment, but around that time period. It’s strategies like that, that really do work, because the audience today is different, they’re growing, evolving and some people want to have a lean-back experience, and that’s great, but a lot of people really want to engage deeply and have fun and have misleads and misdirection’s. I think the worst thing in the world is when things are predictable from a content perspective, and we want to make them unpredictable.”