Creating an authentic entertainment experience
To promote The Lego Batman movie, Warner Bros worked with PHD, Drum and Channel 4 on a campaign dubbed "Continuity Bat", which won gold for Best Use of Content at the Media Week Awards 2017.
Lego Batman took over as continuity announcer to introduce the programmes during Channel 4's ad breaks.
Will Arnett, the actor who provided the voiceover for the character in the film, voiced the promos.
Eighteen animated intros were shown across four days in more than 40 ad breaks.
The programme intros were entertaining in their own right and added to viewers’ enjoyment of watching Channel 4, but they also played a vital role for Warner Bros in showcasing the movie’s humour to a young adult target audience at scale.
"'Continuity Bat' showed that unobtrusive, legally-compliant, entertaining branded content is possible on primetime broadcast television in the UK," said Jessica Roper, media director at PHD.
"With a lot of support from Channel 4, we were able to create different animated programme intros which were compliant with Ofcom’s product placement guidelines."
This, says Roper, made Lego Batman feel like part of the Channel 4 entertainment experience, and not a paid-for product placement getting in the way of what viewers had tuned in to watch.
Every collaborator on Continuity Bat played a vital part. Roper says that Channel 4 as partners pulled out all the stops to make the idea happen, sister content agency Drum wrote "fantastic" scripts and the Warner Bros’ marketing team spent a considerable amount of time working with their colleagues overseas to secure 18 brand new pieces of animation for the UK.
"The campaign was so well received because it was designed from the outset to feel like an authentic part of both Channel 4’s on-air branding and the Lego Batman universe," adds Roper.
The Lego Batman Movie went on to achieve 90% awareness and opened at number one at the UK Box Office.
Its opening weekend box office outperformed its target by 6% and PHD’s strategy of targeting young adults in addition to kids and families paid off, delivering more 15-34s than the genre average, according to Pearl & Dean Film & Monitor.
The campaign delivered a box office share ROI of £17.34 for every £1 Warner Bros spent, according to BARB/BDRC International/UK Cinema Association.
Continuity Bat scooped the gold medal in the category for Best Use of Content at Campaign’s 2017 Media Week Awards.