Early Man Case Study
Promoting the first prehistoric underdog sports movie in history was a task for the ages, but we were up to the challenge. Our objectives for this rockin’ social campaign were to raise awareness of Aardman Animation’s newest flick, specifically targeting parents, activating established fans of the animation house and claymation in general, while creating an interactive, hands-on experience surrounding the themes of games, family, and adventure. In order to achieve our goals, we designed engaging social content, leveraged the well-known Aardman brand, promoted new characters and key talent to generate increased social engagement, and gave our social campaign an immersive storytelling narrative focused on the battle between the Stone and Bronze Ages. Additionally, by highlighting the humor and positive reviews, we were able to position Early Man as a family movie for everyone to enjoy.
Unlike many of our campaigns, the Early Man U.S. release came after the U.K. release, so we had the unique experience of sharing content with the international teams. Rather than competing with the international team, we coordinated our efforts. By utilizing content from Studio Canal for awareness in a symbiotic way, we were able to focus our custom content creation on engaging our audience.
The campaign was made up of three distinct phases: Phase 1 introduced the Stone and Bronze Ages, urging fans to pick their tribe and get to know the respective characters. Phase 2 was centered around engaging fans through the holiday themed “12 Days of Games” leading up to Christmas. Lastly, Phase 3 was all about getting families excited for the release with humor, positive reviews, behind-the-scenes content, and talent call-outs. Throughout the campaign, we utilized the incredible assets we were given by Aardman, including object and character cut outs that we were able to animate, custom animations, set backgrounds, and more, in order to bring Aardman’s claymation to life on socials.
In order to engage both children and adults while on holiday break, we created the “12 Days of Games” leading up to Christmas. Each day we posted a new game - whether a poll cinemagraph, a charades video, or a talent to character matching graphic - urging fans to comment with their results for a chance to win an Early Man poster. We were surprised to see the lengths fans would go to engage, even commenting with their own or their kid’s finished word searches, mazes, etc.
Pre-release content was focused on critical accolades, the recognizable cast, and the classic Aardman humor to get families and Aardman fans alike to the theater. We accomplished this with talent video call-outs to videos with release messaging, posting behind-the-scenes photos, highlighting characters, jokes and critic reviews in all content, and creating a dynamic Certified Fresh Video using custom animations.
Throughout the campaign, we kept our ear to the ground, paying attention to what fans were saying and what they were interested in. We had a lot of success leveraging current topical conversations as our fans loved to share and engage with relevant content. From Facebook Friendship Day to Groundhog Day, New Year’s Eve to World Kindness Day, Early Man had the holidays covered. We joined the conversation surrounding trending hashtags such as #LoveYourPetDay, #IWouldNameMyRockBand, #Grammys, #WithoutTelevision, and the classics like #MondayMotivation and #ThursdayThoughts. Overall, fans responded well to this type of content - so we planned ahead as much as possible to create unique trending creatives for holidays such as New Year’s Eve.
Overall, the Early Man campaign took fans on a journey through time, with ever-present humor and everyone’s new favorite sidekick, Hognob. The social campaign successfully raised awareness for prehistory’s first underdog sports movie, engaged families and loyal Aardman fans alike, and worked symbiotically with our U.K. counterparts to create a highly engaging, conversational, and playful campaign for our global fan base.