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Dreamworks fires up emotional connection to fans through Twitter

Dreamworks Animation is holding a Q&A on Twitter with How to Train Your Dragon character Astrid, using a Dear Abby format to promote its new Netflix spin-off series. 

Astrid is the female supporting character in the film series and will be featured in the upcoming Netflix series as well. The question and answer on Twitter is taking a unique approach to a traditional marketing tactic and connecting to consumers in a light-hearted, enjoyable way. 

"A research study conducted by Penn Schoen Berland in the Hollywood Reporter showed 88 percent of consumers increasingly use Facebook and Twitter to supplement traditional entertainment experiences, which makes sense, as people love to engage in conversations about their favorite films and share their movie critiques on social - which makes entertainment more entertaining," said Holly Pavlika, senior vice president of brand strategy at Collective Bias. "Social viewing is here to stay, and film studies and production companies now have a unique opportunity to amplify engagement with incentivized viewing, contests and quizzes on these nontraditional channels. 

"Social media provides endless avenues to be used to entertainment promotion," She said. "For example, a production company could upload coloring pages to Pinterest based on characters from its hit movie that moms could share with other moms, driving serious engagement. 

"Or, allowing social influencers access to exclusive movie clips they can share with added commentary on their YouTube channels could help reach a millennial audience and drive viewership. Influencers could even preview movies and livestream their reviews on Periscope on the day a movie releases."

Touching marketing
The film series touches fans? hearts and this Q&A is an extension of that approach. Many viewers feel loyal to the films and the characters, and this marketing tactic secures that bond by connecting to consumers on a personal level in a fun manner.  

How to Train Your Dragon appeals to a younger demographic, which is a group that is likely to enjoy this type of conversation with a character. The social media discussion seeks to replicate the feeling of meeting a fictional character at a theme park. 

For children, meeting a beloved character is exciting, as if they are meeting a celebrity, and the Q&A is just the same. Parents and fans can send in questions to Astrid via Twitter with the hashtag #AstridAdvice. 

All content is fictional and dragon-related. Astrid will answer any question pertaining to those ?raising dragons? and provide advice.

Other content surrounding the launch of the animated series is also being shared on the Dreamworks Animation Twitter page, such as fun facts from another character in the series, Fishlegs. Sneak peaks and teasing content such as a list of episodes and a picture of an important artifact from the series have also been shared. 

Social approach
Disney is taking a similar approach to marketing and using social media as well. Its upcoming live-action revamp of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast has a dramatic hype surrounding it, especially since casting details were recently released. 

The film does not premiere in theaters until 2017, but Disney is maintaining buzz around the film by releasing behind-the-scenes content through Snapchat.. Numerous Disney Twitter accounts advertised Snapchat accounts such as Disney and Disney Studios, which are releasing sneak-peak content such as script pages and videos and pictures of filming.

Disney is also ramping up promotion for its upcoming animated film by Pixar, Inside Out and has released video clips of the animation on the Disney Pixar Twitter page. 

Also, The Internet Movie Database hosted a social media discussion on Twitter with Cameron Crowe, director of upcoming Sony Pictures film Aloha, leveraging the excitement and marketing surrounding the film to develop a dialogue and trusted brand relationship with consumers (see more). 

Comic book publisher and film producer Marvel Worldwide Inc. ramped up awareness for an onslaught of new movies coming this summer and next year through Twitter also, with accounts based off its characters in an effort to connect more with fans (see more). 

"If you have an enthusiastic audience a live discussion fuels the conversation," Ms. Pavlika said. "Tapping into the passion an audience feels for a character or a show helps bring in new viewers, and insider information and background on a character provides social currency that audiences love.

"That said, anything a brand puts into social should feel authentic," she said. "A socially shared version of a movie poster might fall flat, but behind the scenes outtakes and stills will get fans excited.

"The upcoming movie Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds nailed this in an interview with Extra TV?s Mario Lopez that discussed the movie?s R-Rating. Midway through the interview, Reynolds appeared in character as Marvel?s cheekiest assassin and broke a TV over Lopez?s head to prove the point, fans went crazy and have watched the video over 1.4 million times to date." 

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer