GLOW, a New York-based social, digital and creative agency, has created campaigns for some of cable’s most-loved shows, including HBO’s “Veep,” USA Network’s “Psych,” and A&E’s “Duck Dynasty.” The agency’s work for the new Cartoon Network series “Uncle Grandpa” was recently named a finalist by the Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards in the digital marketing campaign category. The “Find It!” campaign centered on a series of interactive YouTube videos that challenged viewers to find certain objects during short clips of the show.
In this Q-and-A, Jesse McLean, the creative director behind the campaign, describes how the idea was formed and why the campaign was a success.
Can you describe the creative process behind the campaign?
Cartoon Network wanted to leverage digital to provide fans with a custom branded experience that would accompany the launch of their new original cartoon series, “Uncle Grandpa.” Their key goal was to introduce kids aged 6-11 to this new show and enable them to sample content in an engaged, enjoyable way. We had to consider that for this age bracket, it was important to develop an experience that complied with the COPPA regulations, so our approach centered on our research of children’s behavior in the digital space and general gaming habits. YouTube provided a perfect fit for our concept both in function and in target age range.
We worked with both Cartoon Network and the YouTube team to create a custom annotation mechanism within Find It! that enhanced the user experience. We also did a deep dive into popular and viral games and digital experiences amongst our target age range and identified common features we opted to include within this experience to encourage organic P2P sharing while still prioritizing the content. Based on our findings, we gave our users the opportunity for bragging rights through the rewards and collection wall that featured custom memes, GIFs and a printable reward.
What are the advantages and disadvantages to using interactive YouTube clips?
We helped our client gain a foothold on a changing platform that our target age range was familiar with. After determining where our target group spent their time, we developed interactive YouTube clips to reach them in that preferred environment. YouTube also allowed us to tap into a secondary audience of hardcore fans that exist on the platform. This group spent up to 30 minutes engaged and interacting.
Since YouTube has a huge user-base and is such a vast repository of content, we knew that we had to create an experience that would stand out via engaging activity. The experience garnered 100,000 unique visitors, and of that group, we were able to identify a devoted fan base of approximately 11,000 kids that spent between 10 and 30+ minutes per session engaging with the experience.
What are the differences in promoting a new series vs. a returning series?
One of the challenges of promoting a new series is that the audience isn’t invested in the content, as they have yet to be introduced to characters or story. It was important for us to get people involved by offering a low barrier to entry and surfacing the fun content that appeals to a broad audience. We then needed to create an incentive for people to view the content, that then lead to a passion for it for a number of hardcore fans. We also developed a display media campaign that worked seamlessly with what kids would be seeing on TV, and a targeted media buy made sure that each ad had maximum impact within a limited spend.
Did you learn anything from the response to the campaign? Was there anything you would have done differently?
There are various ways of interacting with kids on YouTube and through our research and expertise, we developed one that not only engaged a large number of kids but also helped build a core group of fans. There is a lot to gain from attracting hardcore fans, and for future projects we’ll be exploring ways to optimize this group by finding ways to further reward them for their participation.
Targeting secondary demos will also be a priority going forward. As we learned with Find It!, an older demo interacted with the experience as well, which can aid in reaching our target demo. Kids look up to their older friends & siblings, so the older demo should be part of the target group from the start. Working directly with the YouTube team also gave us unprecedented access to the platform and great insight into the technology.