Hotel Transylvania 3: a game with bite

Hotel Transylvania 3

With the release of the third instalment of the fantastic animated film Hotel Transylvania, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Sony Pictures Animation needed an innovative way to reach and engage their audience and promote their summer blockbuster.

With the primary audience a young one, Sony knew that they needed a fun and engaging way to show their demographic exactly what the blockbuster was all about, and exactly why they should book their tickets. They wanted a way to show off the new characters, show off the setting and remind their fans of exactly why the franchise has been and continues to be, so popular.

Appetite Creative was tasked with designing from scratch, building, and testing a fully responsive unit that would reach at least one million users. Our biggest KPI were engagement time and views of the trailer.

Strategy

With the target audience being primarily kids, but also being so popular with adults too, we knew that we needed to raise the bar and offer something that no-one else could.

The execution was to run over the Evolve Network in Canada and needed to be produced both in English and French to ensure maximum engagement from the audience. We chose to run over all screens so needed a responsive solution. Sites were chosen from the network which would appeal both to the kids and their parents so we chose 10 key sites to run across including Momtastic, Kizworld, Imperfectmom and Imperfectparent.

We had to go beyond just making the game but offer incentives and seek to engage with brands through extrinsic motivation. For this campaign, we applied gaming elements and principles to get results that other campaigns could not, even though we had no real prize to offer!

Execution

We designed and created a candy crush style game in which users would match up characters from the film. We added the video trailer and ticket buying options and three levels of fast-paced, gorgeous gameplay. Each of the three levels would hold a new set of four characters for users to match horizontally or vertically.

To increase excitement users were against the clock, each level had only 30 seconds to reach the minimum score or replay that level. We had no prize to offer, so instead users were motivated through the game experience by the design itself and motivated to proceed to the next level and collect the themed bats.

The movie premiere was July 12, so we went live in May and ran until July 30th, with a small change in messaging from July 12 to indicate the film's release.

The campaign went nationwide in Canada.

Results

We tripled the target reach in the lead up to the national premiere, and had thousands of users playing the game, interacting with the brand and watching the trailer.

We hit an astonishing engagement rate of 13% on mobile and 5% overall. Real motivation needed to have users to play as Canadian law requires that advertising to children must be user activated, so users had to first interact with the MPU banners before they could start playing the game.

Our biggest KPI was engagement time, we achieved a huge average dwell rate of 4 minutes and the longest session played was 9 minutes! 40% of users watched 100% of the trailer!

We proved that what we designed was fun and that it worked as we had designed it to. It was a massive success and a great example of how we marry great, innovative design with the highest build quality.

A video of this case study can be found here.

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