Deep Focus

The Long Khan

The Challenge

Epix, the premium television channel and video on demand service, needed to get the word out about their Shatnerpalooza event featuring the world premiere of The Captains, an Epix-produced documentary by William Shatner.

Since Epix is a relatively new entertainment provider, we had to generate awareness of the brand as well as drive viewership of Shatnerpalooza and The Captains. To make matters more difficult, we were told we would not have access to Mr. Shatner as part of our engagement plan. And, budget was tight.

We did, however, have access to our own in-house group of Star Trek nerds, whose abundant talents were leveraged to concept and create a user-generated video meme based on the most epic moment of the Star Trek franchise.

The Idea


The scream from Captain Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of the most celebrated, quoted and parodied piece of film in Sci-fi history. We thought that if we could harness the power of the original Khan scream, and allow people to become part of the scream themselves by extending it ad infinitum, we would create a rallying cry for Shatnerpalooza that would be shared across the social universe. And thus, the Long Khan was born.

Deep Focus designed and built TheLongKhan.com, featuring a trailer for the project and a tutorial video explaining how to properly film and upload your own Khan scream. The site also integrated information about Epix, Shatnerpalooza and the world premiere of The Captains.

For two weeks we collected submissions online, and filmed Khan screams on-site at the 45th Anniversary of Star Trek Convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. Once we had collected over 50 screams, the first version of The Long Khan premiered, featuring a randomly ordered chain of Khan screams bookended by the original Kirk scream from Star Trek II. From there, The Long Khan grew virally, due in part to the customized sharing functionality that allows people to post a link on Facebook and Twitter to a personalized Long Khan featuring their own scream right after Captain Kirk’s.

The Outcome

It is too soon to know all the outcomes, but The Long Khan is on fire. We knew it would attract and engage Star Trek and sci-fi fans, but we didn’t anticipate it catching the attention of one particular fan, William Shatner himself. Mr. Shatner was so impressed and inspired by The Long Khan, that he conducted two Khan group screams, one with his audience at the Star Trek convention in Parsippany, and one with a room of 3,000 people at Comic-Con in San Diego.

His personal backing of the project brought added attention to the site, augmenting the Deep Focus seeding efforts and building the length of the Khan. Despite a zero digital media buy, we created (and still are creating) a viral groundswell of interest for the show and the network. And made history doing it.

Not only that, but The Long Khan was awarded an Emmy (Promotion: Program Promo – Single Spot/Campaign) by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York chapter.

View the Site >