Spinnaker is responsible for all the digital assets used to promote selected Sony films online. The key objective of this marketing activity is always the same: to encourage as many cinema goers as possible to see the film during the very first weekend of release. Only when the film is a number one box office hit, are we satisfied we have done our job.
For this film, The Smurfs, Spinnaker created a multitude of digital assets including standard placements such as rich media banners (leader boards, MPU’s, Skyscrapers, homepage take overs), a website, social media applications and registration page.
The film targeted primarily 4-12 year olds and their parents (those who spend time online together). So the focus for all activity was to build chatter prior to the film’s release date and sustain interest thereafter. This digital activity appeared alongside TV, Press and Outdoor advertising as well as various sponsorship deals with brands such as McDonalds.
The Smurfs were about to burst into our lives again with a much anticipated come back movie. The brief’s challenge was twofold: Not only did we want to generate pre-launch excitement and chatter by way of a Global Smurf Day but we were keen thereafter to build upon the excitement that this event generated leading up to the films’ actual release in August.
Research instilled a certain confidence that the film would be well received. With many UK based Smurf fans in existence already, there was an audience to tap into who we knew would be willing advocates for the film and who would be only too keen to introduce the little blue people to the younger generation also.
There was already a standing record for the biggest Smurf gathering. This inspired the idea to reunite all Smurf fans and grow the smurfing community to beat this record. From this, Global Smurf Day was born and our focus was to create content that could be used in the lead up to release. And to our advantage was an established strong base of Facebook Smurf advocates.
Media was purchased targeting both parents and children. It demanded a creative approach that was not only fun and exciting but interactive and engaging. Playing to the nostalgia felt by older audiences to entice a younger audience to fall in love with the Smurfs all over again.
There were several digital strands:
• Global Smurf Day event with website complete with blue yourself-up tips and social media activity for Global Smurf day
• MSN home page take over (HPTO) on day of release
• Miniclip HPTO and ROS display ads
• Bin Weevils experience
• Ongoing engagement on Facebook
Young or old – Smurf fans have always got behind any opportunity to dress up as their favourite Smurf and here was the challenge – to break the current standing record for the biggest Smurf gathering. And there started the buzz, by creating a Smurf record breaking event across Europe. With strict fancy dress code (hat, white trousers, all bared skin blue and only three characters to take cue from (Pappa, Smurfette or your ordinary Smurfs), infectious Smurf fever spread the land.
The UK event took place at the O2 with crowd entertainment and interaction. Communicated via website, online advertising and Facebook, word of these events spread virally through social means and created high profile buzz about the new movie. Film content and user generated content were uploaded and seeded across a number of film sites, entertainment sites and blogs.
With some fantastic 3D animation assets available from the film we are able to create some really exciting creative that worked hard to make the most of the media placements.
We wanted the ads to portray the more loved aspects of the Smurfs personalities and allude to their story which sees the Smurfs accidentally end up in the real world after being chased into a vortex by the evil Gargamel. A delightful MSN HomePage Takeover saw Clumsy Smurf fall from a vortex in the leaderboard, walk across the page, bump into the MPU pick himself up and then jump into the MPU where he knocked the key art over. Users were then asked to click for the greater experience which saw the page drop back and the trailer play.
Bin Weevils is an exciting and ever-changing online virtual world for kids where they can create their very own pet Bin Weevil. With their pet, they can walk around and explore the 3D world, chat and play games online with friends, do activities, solve secret missions and decorate your own home and garden! Perfect for parents who are keen to hone their children’s computer skills and alight their imaginations.
The concept to demonstrate the characters in the film and to outline the story was used again. And we did this by creating an area called Smurf Weevil Park. Users were introduced to Papa Smurf in the park who explained that he and the Smurfs were lost and in order to get home they needed the moon to turn blue. They were then set a daily ‘find the missing Smurfs’ and ‘their special Smurf items’, which had also gone missing. When all the Smurfs were found and all the items collected, the moon turned blue and the Smurfs could return home. Users who completed the challenge were then entered into a draw to win Smurfs goodie bags.
With an abundance of content taken from Global Smurfs day, including photos and videos and the advocate fans we had recruited in the initial early drive through the Global Smurfs day, we were able to start the campaign with a really strong base and an already excited and active Facebook page. Simple daily posts engaging with fans, posing questions, and simple competitions to win memorabilia saw huge involvement from fans and a highly charged positive page that buzzed with excitement.
The events broke all records with 4,000 total Smurfs congregating on one single day in the UK alone.
All media over performed and saw an average CTR of 2.5 per cent, user initiated trailer views were 13.53 per cent, 52 per cent with sound on. Interaction rates were 17 seconds.
Facebook likes exceeded 140,000. Box office takings on opening weekend exceeded all targets.