Lego leverages SKIT! app for multi-generational storytelling via animation
June 23, 2014
In a reflection of how brand assets are becoming part of the social sphere, Warner Bros. has made popular Lego characters, backgrounds and props available on SKIT!, a mobile application that allows users to create freeform animated shorts such as memes and remixes.
The animated video messaging app addresses the social media divide between parents and their children to foster shared story-telling in a modern social environment. The idea of using Lego mascots as endorsers within the social media landscape means sharing the entire Warner brand.
“Story telling was losing its multi-media capabilities for the masses, and while social entertainment is very siloed – few platforms exist where multiple ages want to be,” said Robin Johnson, co-founder of Skit!.
“Animation is a tried-and-true medium for storytelling, and more effective for parent-child communication,” he said. “As few social apps utilize animation as the primary medium – video and photos are the standard because traditionally animation is complicated.”
Building off of trends
While sharing brand assets in the social sphere is an increasing popular marketing endeavor, Warner Bros. communicates its message well, as no overt advertising exists and the communal platform is fresh and exciting. The shorts are developed by touch screen play.
Kids are enabled to invent stories using their own photos, images from the Web or content within the app library, which now includes beloved Lego characters from the recently released “Lego Movie.” After choosing media and special effects, users narrate and create an animated skit, and can subsequently share their creation as a message via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, as well as with the SKIT! community.
“Short form stories are common place and we found that twenty seconds is a comfortable length for most people to create within,” Mr. Johnson said.
Where most apps are isolating or solitary, SKIT! conversely is collaborative and includes children under 13 in a social discussion, which is unique as most expressive sharing platforms are PG-13.
“Because there are few ‘onramps’ to social media, letting your kid on Tumblr before they are legally able to use the platform is a risk,” Mr. Johnson said.
The app offers creative forms of expression and remixes how-to videos, dress-up, animated commentary, status updates and alternative endings as a way to take experiences and re-experience them.
Opportunities for advertising
Within recent years social media marketing has become one of the largest advertising avenues in the world.
Research from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth reports that over 90 percent of Inc. 500 companies use at least one form of social media platform. Even more telling, 62 percent of those say that social media is at least somewhat necessary to their growth.
The gravitation towards social media and the sheer depth of communication it generates between brands and consumers has not escaped the eye of the online gaming industry. The unique offerings and reach of these platforms allow brands to create marketing that goes beyond just a sales pitch.
Last spring, imaginative play center Chuck E. Cheese rolled out an augmented reality app that combines digital motion and sensory-driven augmented reality technology. One of the key things that differentiates Chuck E. Cheese’s from other family entertainment options is interaction with Chuck E. the character.
After introducing a contemporized mascot last July, Chuck E. Cheese’s has been working on amplifying ways that families can uniquely interact with the character as part of the brand’s memorable experience. The company recognized that guests are increasingly interacting with the family entertainment leader through technology, and appropriately enhanced that capability in all of its stores with the introduction of a free augmented reality app that allows them to be a part of Chuck E.’s performance.
The app uses AR technology to enable parents and kids to take fun photos with animated versions of Chuck E. by interacting with various markers placed on tabletops, games and other backdrops throughout a store. The images can then be shared across multiple social media channels.
Creating a constant and positive connection with consumers is perhaps the most important aspect of social media marketing. Warner Bros. similarly demonstrates how utilizing smart and well-designed brand characters can be a strategic segway to brand conversation.
“Mobile apps are relevant everywhere, and through instant animation, we’ve created a product that appeals to all age groups,” Mr. Johnson said.
“Everyone can play a role in a skit, or contribute an idea. If not, draw a mustache on them!”
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York