How ‘Community’ Stirs Up Excitement For The Show’s Big Return

Now that #CommunityLivesOn {link no longer active} Yahoo Screen, or at least it will coming up March 17 when the show embarks on its 6th season, fans have been engaging with the show on its social channels as the hype ramps up. Since the show will be getting a new digital lease on life, it only makes sense for the show to be experimenting with native video in creative and fun ways.

Most recently, they launched a #HappyValendeans {link no longer active} campaign which pushed out five videos throughout Valentine’s Day across channels with Community‘s Dean. The videos were emminently shareable for the show’s fans and a lucky few got personalized messages from the Dean himself. The campaign generated over 1.36 million impressions and 280,000 video views on Facebook alone.

We talked to David Torstenson, Yahoo’s Social Marketing Lead for Original Programming, about the campaign and the kinds of content he sees helping the promotional efforts around the return of the beloved show.

With Community’s sixth season coming up soon on Yahoo Screen, how have you been getting fans of the show excited for it on social?

We’ve been slowly teasing out news and content around Season 6: press about new cast members, a video of the cast announcing the premiere date (March 17th), stills from upcoming episodes, and – as of this past week – the season’s official key art. With the help of Ayzenberg, we’ve also started creating and releasing social-specific ancillary content from the set, offering the diehard fans insider access and in-universe experiences that further connect them to their favorite fictional community college.

Can you tell us more about the idea around your #HappyValenDeans activation?

We’re building a lot of our content around major cultural touchstones and holidays – and for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to offer our fans an interaction with the show and cast. Since the Dean (played by Jim Rash) is known for both his ‘dean’ puns and his general over-earnestness about everything, having him send personalized ‘ValenDeans’ to fans on social seemed like a no-brainer. We got some great entries on our social channels, and ended up recording five short videos from the Dean – all of which came out incredibly well, thanks to our Ayzenberg team members (and the ridiculously funny Jim Rash).

What types of content are you seeing do especially well?

Anything we post that’s related to the upcoming season is almost guaranteed to do extremely well on social. That said, we’ve also found a lot of success creating Community-themed content that ties into major social conversations and resonates with both the diehard and the casual fan. The Super Bowl post featuring Abed connected with a lot of people (a lot of people who know very little about football, apparently).

Do you have any plans to incorporate more native video?

Absolutely! The show is still in production, so we’re hoping to capture some more moments from the set that fans should really enjoy.


Amazon Hires Former ABC Marketing Boss To Run Marketing For Original Series

by Sahil Patel

As its Amazon Studios arm continues to churn out more and more original series (and soon, movies), Amazon has hired a former ABC marketing executive to, well, market that content.

Mike Benson has been named head of brand marketing and creative development for Amazon Digital Video. In that capacity, he will oversee marketing and advertising for Amazon’s original series.

Benson has plenty of experience on this front, having spent 12 years as EVP of marketing for the Disney/ABC Television Group. There, he oversaw all marketing, advertising, and promotional pushes for ABC’s primetime, late-night, and ABC Studios-produced programming, including “Modern Family,” “Lost,” and “Desperate Housewives.”

Read more…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Selling Emotion: The Secret Of ‘Heroes Charge’

There’s nothing quite like a Super Bowl commercial to put a little-known product on the map, and uCool has learned that very well indeed. Their game Heroes Charge was one of the three mobile games advertised during the Super Bowl, along with Clash of Clans and Game of War: Fire Age. Those two games have some serious advantages when it comes to getting attention — both games have been at the top of the Top-Grossing charts for both iOS and Android for months, and both have been running massive television ad campaigns for months. Both games also have star power — the Clash of Clans Super Bowl ad was a 60 second spot featuring actor Liam Neeson, while Game of War: Fire Age‘s 30 second spot featured supermodel Kate Upton. How can a game from a small studio compete with a 15 second spot with no celebrity power in it

The answer, it appears, is very well indeed. Heroes Charge has gotten a strong boost since the Super Bowl ad appeared, and their TV campaign continues. The game is currently at #2 in App Annie’s US Top Grossing chart for iOS roleplaying games, and at #10 for overall games. Heroes Charge is #2 in the US Google Play store for roleplaying games. The title is #11 overall Top Grossing for US iOS apps, and #29 Top Grossing for all US Google Play apps. That all translates to an exceptional performance that much larger publishers, with much greater budgets, have been unable to emulate. The game has over 12 million players worldwide, and it’s garnered over 250,000 player reviews on Google Play that give it 4.5 stars on average. What’s going on here

Jim Ngui

The [a]listdaily sat down with Heroes Charge producer Jim Ngui to find out some of the answers. How does the game’s design influence its marketing, and vice-versa Who is getting this game, and why

The game has several elements that help make it compelling. Heroes Charge is a mix of card battle games, old-style Japanese RPG combat, questing, and strategy. It’s all presented with attractive animations and sounds, and that helps attract a broad audience.

“We have a very small studio,” said Ngui. “We have about eight of us, sitting there daily looking at the game trying to see how we can improve it. We’re constantly talking about the game, and it helps.” The essence of uCool’s approach is an integrated one between functions. Product development isn’t separated from marketing — the two disciplines are intertwined. “Marketing sits next to me, and that makes me very happy,” said Ngui. That lets Ngui communicate about game elements with marketing and go back-and-forth quickly to make decisions. “This particular item, how is it positioned in the store What’s the call to action How does it fit into the user experience ” Ngui said, by way of example.

Like other game companies, Ngui said, uCool looks at the ARM — Acquisition, Retention, and Monetization. “Marketing is always concerned with the Acquisition part, I’m concerned with Retention, and together we have this nice cyclical relationship,” Ngui said. “We want to get quality people who we think would enjoy playing the game, we want to get them to the table but make sure they have a really nice setting. They’re offered everything that they’re expecting, but also more. We’re constantly doing things in the game.”

“Free-to-play has taught me you want to have a very large offering of features and content for people to stay within the game,” said Ngui. “I treat everyone the same — people who play for free and people who monetize are just as important to me. That’s the way we want the game mechanics to be set up. You don’t want to design a game that specifically monetizes — you want to design a game that everyone plays.”Â

That’s really a key point to remember. Many marketers and business people fear that designers are only concerned with the game, and aren’t interested in how it makes money — in fact, designers might be actively against the idea of asking for money or being pushy about getting paid. Designers, on the other hand, fear that letting marketers and business people into the design process will result in a worse play experience, turning the fun into a dreary shopping experience. Certainly, one can find examples of games out there where both of those fears have been realized.

Heroes Charge, and other successful free-to-play games, are good at keeping players around for the long term, where the opportunity to generate some revenue from those players becomes greater over time. “It’s true, that’s why everyone is looking at the Day 1 versus Day 7, Day 15 versus Day 30. I’m more concerned with Day 30 retention because I feel that’s where people have gone past the churning out,” said Ngui. “We are 24% retention at Day 30, and moving closer to 30%. Because that’s creeping up, I know people are finding enough to do.”

What’s the demographic “This surprised us,” admitted Ngui, ” because if I pitched you Heroes Charge as a high fantasy setting, and MOBA mechanics, multiplayer, these are traits that would skew male.” That’s normally what you’d expect, but Heroes Charge does not resemble other games in how it’s played. “Our play sessions are usually four times a day, and an hour and a half per session, which is superlong for a mobile game,” said Ngui. “Seeing that, you would definitely say it’s male-dominated, but our numbers are very close to fifty-fifty.”

The length of play sessions for Heroes Charge is amazing, and it resembles a typical console or PC game much more than a typical mobile game. The general idea among mobile game companies seems to be that mobile games need to be “snackable” — play sessions that last for a few minutes. Heroes Charge certainly has many things you can do that just take a few minutes, but obviously when you really get into it you can play for a long time. Other mobile games are starting to demonstrate some longer play times, too. That speaks to a depth of engagement and involvement with mobile games that may keep players around for a much longer time.

“Free-to-play is really about selling emotion, because if they don’t have an emotional attachment, there’s less chance for them to stick around because it becomes just another game,” Ngui said. Looking at how Heroes Charge is bringing in players and keeping them around, it looks like the company is doing a pretty good job of selling emotion.



CREATIVE: Honda Is At It Again On YouTube

Honda has really been showing off on YouTube lately. First, they had us absolutely enamoured with ‘The Other Side’ and then they got everyone a bit nostalgic for the Honda Oddysey with a bunch of videos featuring childhood toys. The car brand is proving it has a serious command of YouTube. So, it’s only appropriate that Honda challenge us all to a little game of… speed reading.

The ads reveal not one car, but three: The 2016 HR-V, Honda Jet and Honda Civic Type R, in a way that is subtle, elegant and makes a point. Moreover, the campaign is all about Honda’s company ethos: “a challenge to push themselves to improve while continuing to innovate.”

Can you ‘Keep Up’ Ready to go a little bit ‘Faster’ Or maybe that’s too small fry for you.