Lionsgate and Hasbro wanted to build excitement, buzz and awareness for the upcoming release of My Little Pony: The Movie. Because this was a first to market, never-been-done-before execution for a theatrical release, no benchmarks were available. Success would be measured in views and engagement metrics (likes, comments).
The love for My Little Pony runs deep with its fans. Bronies and Pegasisters young and old embrace the themes of friendship and play whole-heartedly. Our research suggested that nothing would delight fans more then if Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle, the stars of the film, along with the magical world of Equestria, were brought to life for audiences to engage and interact with in real time.
The reach of Facebook with our target audience is unmatched. Not only that, but Facebook Live events are prioritized in the algorithm ensuring that our event would be widely seen in newsfeeds.
Additionally, live and interactive events deliver impactful and emotional engagement, which is what My Little Pony fans were looking for.
We elected to do what has never been done before, create a live interactive streaming broadcast using animated characters. Our event would deliver real-time conversation with fans, showcase the world of Equestria and the personalities of the Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle, and provide fans exclusive content to ensure that their participation was rewarded.
To build anticipation, we began teasing the event on the My Little Pony toy and movie social feeds with a countdown to the broadcast starting several weeks prior to the event .
On the day of the event, AvatarLabs brought several technologies together in an innovative and unique integration of Adobe Character Animator, Unity software, Facebook Live streaming and other digital tools to allow fans to interact live with their favorite characters.
It took a team to bring the ponies to life. Each pony had a “puppeteer” which controlled the movement of the ponies through motion capture while the talent from the film spoke from a script and provided extemporaneous dialog to give the ponies voices. Other team members triggered custom animations from cues and monitored the comments and fed lines for the ponies to react to. They also responded to comments left by fans in the Facebook feed whenever possible.
As an exclusive grand finale, Sia’s new music video “Rainbow” from the film was debuted.