MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
UNIVERSAL PICTURES - DESPICABLE ME 3
Everybody loves grumpy ex super villain Gru and his mischievous Minions – whether it be for their names, language, mischief-making, or even their love of bananas.
In summer 2017 Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment brought back our quirky, funny, and adorable animated companions for the third instalment of the Despicable Me franchise. Our mission was to ensure that we
built upon previous International box office success and the strength of the Despicable Me brand. We needed to deliver a confident, unexpected and media-savvy campaign, which would drive audiences into theatres Worldwide.
Our challenge was to develop an International campaign that would appeal to mainstream audiences, as well as enabling quality engagement, to build consideration and interest amongst those who are harder to convert, while
maintaining a consistent narrative.
By releasing the title in the summer, we were also operating in a very competitive environment dominated by other mainstream blockbusters, such as Wonder Woman, Transformers and Cars 3. So just like the Minions, we needed to stand out!
Our research showed that the Despicable Me movies have conquered a place in the hearts of millions of children and parents, and that teens and general audiences have a sweet spot for these films. But we knew that we needed
to engage with them in completely different ways.
Releasing the third chapter in the franchise meant that we could rely on an established property with solid awareness, but also that we had to work extra hard to promote the new elements and convince people that the
adventures of Gru, Lucy and the girls were not over.
Finally, to overcome the competition from other summer blockbusters and to match our ambitious targets at the International box office, it was clear that every element of our campaign had to be bold, confident and
So we chose to collaborate with a partner that could give us the answer to all these requirements:
Our solution was the distinctive and humorous tone of BuzzFeed, a mass-reaching platform that built its proposition on knowing what type of content can connect deeply with different audiences. Their extensive and always current knowledge of trends and popular culture would enable us to bring the themes of the film to life in a way that is appealing to the most demanding audiences of teens and millennials. Their global footprint gave us the chance to
make an impact across our key territories (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Australia), tailoring our message to local sensibilities while staying true to the franchise’s trademark features.
We focused on three key elements:
First, people’s love for the minions. They have become integral part of popular culture, featuring heavily in GIFs, memes, and other online content. With their memorable comedy moments, they were the ideal asset to feature in
highly shareable articles about relatable aspects of everyday life.
Secondly, we celebrated all the exciting new elements that would feature in the third film. We introduced the new archenemy Balthazar Bratt, Gru’s long-lost twin Dru, and hinted at the minions’ globe-hopping adventure, which
lands them in prison.
And finally, we zoomed in on a core concept of the franchise: the appeal of villainy and the mischiefs in which we all indulge day-to-day.
These three themes were developed into three bespoke content pieces that brought the world of Despicable Me 3 to life across seven key markets. The style and content of these pieces were categorised into three key pillars to reach our savvy millennials: ‘Relatable’, ‘Story Selling’ and ‘Reactive’, all of which fit perfectly into BuzzFeed’s tone.
Our ‘Relatable’ post portrayed “The Average Week According To The Minions” through funny GIFs, a format that BuzzFeed’s audience are familiar with. By utilising the comical touch of the minions we created an exceedingly
pertinent piece driving users to share the content organically.
Our ‘Story Selling’ listicle, “13 Ways “Despicable Me 3” Is More Despicable Than Ever”, excited and educated users on what made the new movie stand apart from the first two films and why they should see this over our competitors’ titles.
Finally, our ‘Reactive’ post, entitled “People Confess Times That Being Bad Felt Really, Really Good” invited engagement and encouraged Buzzfeed’s community to send in their mischievous stories.
Titles and content were tailored to reflect local references, which allowed us to resonate with our audiences across diverse countries, whilst being loyal to Illumination Entertainment’s unmistakable DNA. The articles were also
staggered in time to cover a period of 5 weeks, thus sustaining interest in the film over the entire release window.
With our creative concept in place, we amplified our activity with robust, geo-targeted media and social buzz, helping us to deliver against our main KPIs (reach and engagement) and ultimately in-theatre attendance.
A tailor-made 10” AV spot across Instagram and Snapchat stories was a perfect accompaniment to reach our desired audience in their social feeds.
To further amplify our activity; we unlocked a huge portion of additional value.
On day of release the BuzzFeed homepage was heavily branded with our campaign, with direct links to buy cinema tickets, never-run-before
animated formats and the classic BuzzFeed buttons transformed into minions – a true Global Media First!
The minions would be happy to know, people went bananas! We built on crucial momentum across our markets, to amplify local awareness in order to position Despicable Me 3 as the ‘must see’ film of the summer.
For this campaign the proof was well and truly in the pudding. We unlocked integrated campaign elements and unique formats, which wouldn’t have been possible to activate on a local level and resulted in more than double the
value of our original booked activity. Our homepage takeovers and logo disruptions were media-firsts and gave us an edge on other competitors. Thanks to such standout presence, we drove over 450k users to read our content and watch the trailer, reaching 3 times the engagement benchmark.
When we surveyed BuzzFeed’s users on their intent on seeing the film we saw a lift of 31% after being exposed to the posts, which was impressive when compared to averages of just 10-15% for similar intent studies. This translated
into widespread success at the box office.
Across the world cinemagoers flocked to watch it on the first weekend, making it the number one film opening in 62 territories. In the UK the opening result was nearly double the amount earned by rival Cars 3, followed by four
straight weeks at the top of the UK box office– a feat which eluded even Beauty & the Beast. In 6 out of our 7 campaign markets Despicable Me 3 ended up as the biggest animated film of 2017.
Surpassing previous global record-holder Shrek and the Ice Age 5-film series, Despicable Me is now the highest grossing animated franchise of all time.