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For ‘Girls Trip’ and ‘Avengers,’ Cross-Platform Executions Build Buzz

Jun 13, 2018

Viacom’s stars are a key asset to Velocity’s move campaigns. For Universal Pictures’ July 2017 blockbuster “Girls Trip,” VH1 star Snoop Dogg offered his unique take on the film with “Snoop’s Hot Box Office.”

Viacom Velocity created a movie theater set showcasing Snoop reviewing the film, complete with his real-time reactions to the red- band trailer. Ali Zerden, VP, integrated marketing, Viacom Velocity, says: “We wanted to show what the experience of watching the movie would be like through the eyes of one of our biggest stars on VHI, Snoop.

“His natural reactions were just pure gold for us,” she says.

“This campaign was the perfect marriage of irrepressible humor and the ideal ambassador for ‘Girls Trip.’”—Annah Zafrani, senior VP, integrated marketing, Universal Pictures

VHI proved ideal for promoting “Girls Trip”, observes Lesley Kantor, VP, integrated marketing, Viacom Velocity. “Universal was trying to position this movie as the movie to see with your girlfriends for the summer, so reaching the female audience was very important to them. And one of the strongest places to do that across Viacom is VH1.”

The social media campaign spanned Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram with Viacom channels generating overall reach of 25.2 million. The campaign received 4 million video views.

“This campaign was the perfect marriage of irrepressible humor and the ideal ambassador for ‘Girls Trip,’”  says Annah Zafrani, senior VP, integrated marketing, Universal Pictures. “We knew we had the goods to back up nontraditional creative, and Velocity, VH1 and Snoop proved to be the ideal collaborators.”

The creative appeared on VHI’s main social handles, as well as the “Martha and Snoop Potluck dinner” Facebook page. Snoop Dogg pushed out the content out across his social platforms as well.

Although originally designed as a social media campaign, the creative got a linear rollout on VH1. “It just played out so well that we ultimately chose to distribute it on all of our screens,” Kantor says.

The campaign was so successful that “Snoop’s Hot Box Office” became a franchise for the studio, Zerden notes.

 

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Jordan Klepper is the millennial generation’s satirical TV anchor, and he’s also an unabashed fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“These characters are starting to work together — collude,” Comedy Central viewers heard Klepper intone over footage from the film with the same faux seriousness he uses as host of the network’s satirical news show “The Opposition With Jordan Klepper”: “Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Tony Stark. Black Panther, king of the secret nation of Wakanda, which I’ve known about for years.”

That’s from a 60-second spot produced by Viacom Velocity that aired in the run-up to the film’s release. In a 30-second spot, “The Daily Show” correspondent Ronny Chieng found himself alone on the show’s set when everyone else had gone to see “Infinity War.”

“Part of the magic — particularly with the bigger stars on those networks — is crafting ideas that the talent feel passionate about.”—Ali Zerden, VP, integrated marketing, Viacom Velocity

The “Avengers” campaign played across numerous Viacom network and social platforms. Aside from the spots on Comedy Central (the top-rated network on cable for millennial men), the campaign helped drive 450 million video plays across the network’s social-video accounts in April — a whopping 114 percent year-on-year increase.

An extended “Avengers” trailer and featurettes aired during MTV’s “The Challenges” in prime- time. And on Nickelodeon, “Avengers” premiered an exclusive clip of the Guardians of the Galaxy meeting Thor during the March “Kids’ Choice Awards.” The KCAs aired to a U.S. audience of 3.3 million households and the preview was covered extensively in the entertainment press following the telecast.

“Finding a creative partner that we could work with for content on linear and social was key,” says Anthony Price, SVP media and integrations at The Walt Disney Studios. “But we also needed a partner that would respect a franchise like the Avengers with great content.”

Zerden explains: “Part of the magic — particularly with the bigger stars on those networks — is crafting ideas that the talent feel passionate about.

“Jordan Klepper was excited to participate, and we have correspondents on ‘The Opposition’ and ‘The Daily Show’ who want to participate when they’re fans of the material.”

 

 

These case studies originally appeared in the June 12, 2018 issue of Variety.