Universal Pictures: Draw Your Own Boxtroll

Campaign Summary

Universal Pictures did a native mobile campaign to generate excitement for the release of The Boxtrolls in 2014. The brand knew that parents of children ages seven to nine were less likely to take their kids to the film than parents of children ages 10 to 11. Therefore, the campaign needed to reassure younger children and their parents that the film would be entertaining for them while still creating enthusiasm for the movie among 10- and 11-year-olds. Universal Pictures chose to partner with a mobile app for children and invite kids to create electronic coloring books with their favorite Boxtrolls characters.


Objective and Context:

Universal Studios had learned that there was a difference between the parents of older children and the parents of younger children when it came to viewing children’s movies in theaters. In some markets, the parents of younger kids had reservations about the films. In Spain, for example, while 53 percent of seven- to nine-year-olds were interested in the trailer vs. 41 percent of 10- and 11-year-olds, the parents of younger children were less interested in taking them to the movie. Twenty-eight percent of the parents of seven- to nine-year-olds were interested, vs. 48 percent of the parents of 10- and 11-year-olds. Older kids were more likely to actually watch the movie — 65 percent of 10- and 11-year-olds surveyed vs. 35 percent of seven- to nine-year-olds. Universal Studios therefore wanted to reassure younger children and their parents that The Boxtrolls was age-appropriate entertainment while still ensuring that interest among older children remained strong.

Target Audience:

The target audience was children ages seven to 11 and their parents. Because technological devices such as tablets and smartphones are popular in the home, children in this generation are using the Internet more than any other. Seventy-three percent of parents let their kids play with mobile devices while they are doing chores around the house.

Creative Strategy:

Because children are so comfortable using Internet-enabled devices, Universal Studios decided to look for a partner app where children spent a lot of time. The campaign needed to engage children emotionally, reassuring both children and their parents. Universal Studios developed integrated content that allowed children to discover and interact with characters from The Boxtrolls.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Universal Studios partnered with a children’s app to create a native mobile campaign that would be fun for young kids. The brand created a game in which children could choose their favorite Boxtrolls characters and create customized coloring books. Children loved it.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

This campaign achieved the brand’s objectives: an 80 percent interaction rate and more than 50 percent view-through rate.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Mobile Native | Awards: Finalist