Universal Kids: Universal Kids’ American Ninja Warrior Junior


Campaign Summary

Sabio aimed to drive awareness and build excitement for the series premiere of American Ninja Warrior Junior on Universal Kids, which is part of NBCUniversal's Entertainment and Lifestyles Group.


Objective and Context:

There are a plethora of networks and shows competing for the attention of younger audiences, including American Ninja Warrior Junior, an action-packed series geared toward kids. It was imperative to elevate American Ninja Warrior Junior's reputation and status among the core target, and Sabio wanted to develop an approach that would resonate with the target and quickly gain viewership.

In addition to raising awareness, Sabio was asked to showcase American Ninja Warrior Junior to audiences in a brand-safe environment where audiences could see, touch, and experience the show firsthand. The goal was to align with Universal Kids' brand promise of being "bold, authentic, and inspiring."

Target Audience:

The intended target audience was kids between the ages of six and 11. This audience was primarily characterized by age demographic and was expected to be comprised of equal gender makeup.

This audience is known for winning control over the TV remote and having access to either their own or their parent's smartphone, and are behaviorally identified by their activity across in-app environments centered around sports and gaming. Sabio focused on active kids, action and sports TV enthusiasts, and those most likely to view competitor children's networks. This younger demographic presented the challenge of delivering powerful, attention-grabbing creative in relevant environments which were compliant with COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act).

Creative Strategy:

Younger audiences tend to be most receptive to video, so Sabio delivered enhanced video creative and standard pre-roll to measure performance against Universal Kids' objectives.

Sabio enhanced the video creative to take the brand promise of "bold, authentic, and inspiring" content to the next level by adding haptic effects. Haptic video leverages Android device technology to align strategic vibrations at specific points throughout the video, making for a high-impact and memorable experience. While haptic video is only available on Android devices, Sabio was able to compare its performance to pre-roll video, which was delivered on both Android and iOS devices. Sabio also incorporated dynamic creative messaging based on the date the video was viewed. With each day, the creative copy within the video would adjust as the premiere date approached, changing from "Saturday" to "tomorrow" to "today."


Overall Campaign Execution:

This was the first campaign executed for American Ninja Warrior Junior, which resulted in high engagement, excitement, and tune-in for the series premiere. Due to the initial success, Universal Kids presented Sabio with the opportunity to run a second campaign for the semifinals and finale episodes. Sabio implemented similar targeting to reach six- to 11-year-olds while also reaching "mom managers," a new target consisting of mothers who are engaged with their kids. Based on results from the first campaign, Sabio again leveraged haptic video and pre-roll video to continue to drive strong performance.

The results of this campaign were achieved through a combination of proprietary targeting technology and custom creative production. Sabio's App Science technology enabled it to identify users based on their app ecosystem as well as their past and present locations. This allowed Sabio to go beyond standard demographic targeting based on stale third-party data. Sabio focused on app usage and built a custom audience segment comprised of users who downloaded kid-centric apps related to gaming, sports, action, entertainment, and competitor TV networks. Examples of these apps included Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Temple Run, YouTube Kids, and ESPN Play.

Mobile Execution:

Because the target audience is highly active on their (or their parent's) smartphone, Sabio approached Universal Kids' objective with a mobile-only strategy. Its App Science technology went beyond standard third-party demographic segments, allowing it to identify kids between the ages of six and 11 and learn more about their device makeup. By examining the audience's app ecosystem, Sabio was able to better identify key users who were more likely to complete the video ad as opposed to more broadly targeting a larger demographic with whom the ad might or might not have resonated.

Within the overall campaign budget, 70 percent was allocated to mobile haptic video and 30 percent was used for standard pre-roll video.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Both the haptic and pre-roll video drove results that were significantly above campaign benchmarks, which increased awareness and excitement for the series' premiere. The haptic video yielded a completion rate of 90.4 percent (21 percent higher than expected), while the standard pre-roll video garnered a video completion rate of 78.3 percent (12 percent higher than expected).

This campaign had a strong impact on the target audience, providing a stimulating preview of American Ninja Warrior Junior while also creating a unique and energizing video ad that was built to mimic the feeling of being front and center at the show.

Categories: Mobile Video | Industries: Entertainment, Media, | Objectives: Mobile Video | Awards: NA Bronze Winner