Lionsgate is teaming up with YouTube for an innovative campaign to promote the next instalment in The Hunger Games.
Mockingjay – Part 1 is released in UK cinemas in November, but fans can already immerse themselves in the world of Panem through a range of new videos created by popular YouTube creators. Titled District Voices, the series comprises of five episodes from different YouTube stars, each aligned with a specific industry from the districts of the fictional sci-fi society.
The original content was conceived and developed with the team from the YouTube Space LA and filmed on location there, and around Los Angeles. Presented as programming from Capitol TV, the government-sanctioned television network of the franchise, the campaign is an example of how YouTube is emerging as the best place to reach the key 18-34 year-old audience; the right kind of demographic for the young adult-friendly franchise.
“Fans are more dedicated to online video than broadcast/linear shows, they help to shape it,”
said Tom Jenkins (@wimbizzle), Channel Manager at #mashed, Channel 4’s first independently run YouTube channel, at a recent London Web Fest panel.
Global fan communities are watching more than 9 billion hours of video each month on YouTube, and the creators who participated in District Voices have a combined base of over 4.9 million subscribers and over 550 million video views.
When it comes to connecting with these viewers, Sam Delaney – Editor in Chief of Comedy Central’s online video content – says they have had more success with such YouTube celebrities rather than household names, who carry less weight among modern, online audiences.
Indeed, YouTube celebrities are becoming increasingly key players in modern media, with Lionsgate already having commissioned a feature film from The Smosh Movie, make-up vlogger Michelle Phan publishing a book with Random House and signing advertising deals with Diet Dr. Pepper, and Zoella becoming a digital ambassador for mental health charity Mind. Zoella, to put it into context, has more subscribers on YouTube than Beyonce.
“Our mission has always been to engage our Hunger Games fans in the most innovative and authentic ways possible,” explains Lionsgate’s EVP of Digital Marketing Danielle De Palma. “We cannot think of a better partner than these incredible YouTube stars, who truly bring new content to life in the world of Panem and extend our storytelling to online audiences in exciting new directions.”
The campaign is part of Google’s Art, Copy & Code, a series of projects that explore new ways for brands to connect with consumers through experiences that people love, remember and share.
Google’s Director of Creative Partnerships, Ben Malbon, comments: “YouTube is the best place to build a fanbase. This collaboration with Lionsgate showcases how brands can harness the power of Google and YouTube to reach their core audience when they are engaging with the content they are most passionate about and where they are spending the majority of their time.”
Jenkins cautions companies planning to target YouTube audiences, though: “Young audiences are very savvy about when they’re being sold something. It’s important that talent makes branded content on their own terms.”
So far, the campaign appears to be succeeding. It began on Monday 20th October with Rob Czar & Corinne Leigh, co-helmers of Threadbanger, showing how to best make use of excess Peacekeeper armor in District 8’s Resourceful Style. So far, it has received 152,163 views, with 4,783 likes and 61 dislikes.
Tuesday followed with Shane Fazen, of fightTIPS, showcasing the training and techniques required to be a Peacekeeper in Panem in Keeping the Peace with District 2. It has received 50,191 views, with 1,466 likes and 12 dislikes.
Derek Muller, known for mind-blowing experiments and scientific discussions on Veritasium, yesterday demonstrated new ways in which the Capitol may generate its electricity in the future for District 5.
Today will see Jimmy Wong & Ashley Adams, from Feast of Fiction, demonstrate baking techniques from Panem’s Grain District for District 9.
Friday’s final video will be themed around District 6 and star iJustine’s Justine Ezarik, who will give a glimpse of the driving force that proudly supports the transportation needs of Panem’s vaunted Peacekeepers.
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