To deliver commercial success for LEGO Batman’s first ever theatrical movie release by showing a 16-34 audience just how funny LEGO Batman is and demonstrate to them that The LEGO Batman Movie wasn’t ‘just for kids’.
Following the success of 2014’s The LEGO Movie and the break-out popularity of LEGO Batman - one of its supporting characters - Warner Bros. released The LEGO Batman Movie in February 2017.
But the movie wasn’t a sequel to The LEGO Movie. It would be LEGO Batman’s first ever stand-alone theatrical movie release, so the character needed to find his own voice and stand on his own two (square) feet for the first time.
However, we also faced the challenge of making sure that the core 16-34 cinema-going audience (who make up 44% of UK box office) didn’t just write it off as ‘an animated movie for kids’.
Whilst the core family audience could not be ignored (or worse, alienated), the focus of this element of the launch campaign was clear - to familiarise a young adult audience with LEGO Batman’s funny, self-assured personality and drive a disproportionate number of 16-34s to see the movie at the cinema.
What led us to our content solution, came from the leading man himself.
LEGO Batman is a comically self-assured superhero who has no doubt about his own ability to be brilliant at anything.
So we set out to give him a platform on which he could demonstrate that do that to his best ability and at scale.
Our aim was to widen the appeal of LEGO Batman from just being perceived as a kids movie to being seen as a film with a much broader appeal. This meant we needed to achieve a number of things:
• Engaging with a 16-34 audience in a way which made LEGO Batman feel relevant to them
• Because we only had one shot at big opening weekend, we needed to make an impact quickly and at scale
• Because we were looking to have a large target audience engage with a movie character in a way that was compelling enough to stimulate cinema bookings, it also meant that whatever we did couldn’t just be a noisy one-off stunt
• Finally, whatever medium we used, it needed to be one which would do LEGO Batman’s personality justice
One through which he could entertain, not just advertise.
In order to target the right audience at scale AND have the ability for LEGO Batman’s personality to shine through, it was clear that an audio-visual medium was vital.
So, for the world’s most self-assured superhero, we focussed on the largest single media canvas we could give him; Primetime TV. Our partner of choice was Channel 4 – the 2nd largest commercial broadcaster in the UK and the highest converting channel for 16-34s.
It is also a channel with a great heritage of mass-appeal youth programming and its own distinct irreverent tone of voice that would match LEGO Batman’s sardonic personality perfectly.
The result was ‘Continuity Bat’ (in the UK, TV station announcers are called Continuity Announcers), a branded content partnership that was unique in the UK’s highly regulated TV environment and was conceived and executed by the client and media specialists. No advertising agency was involved.
Across FOUR DAYS, LEGO Batman barged in as a self-appointed, animated station announcer on primetime Channel 4.
In full collaboration with Channel 4, we were granted permission to use their branding in the animations and they also brokered us the rights for LEGO Batman to name some of their biggest shows by name in his intros.
18 different programme intros were specially written in the UK and animated by the movie’s animators in the US.
We even secured the services of the voice of LEGO Batman himself, Will Arnett, to specially record them.
Some of the intros were show specific e.g. The Jump, whilst others were designed to be used to introduce multiple shows in the same genre, e.g. Home Improvement and Cooking.
LEGO Batman introduced 50 primetime Channel 4 shows over four days, all whilst keeping within strict UK broadcast regulations on the distinction between presentation and commercial airtime.
LEGO Batman even took over Channel 4’s official Twitter feed to comment on the shows he’d introduced and respond to tweets from viewers while they were being transmitted.
All of which resulted in a piece of branded content that felt both a natural part of both Channel 4 AND the LEGO Batman universe.