Vampires Application was rebranded by Sony Pictures "30 Days Night" movie for successful Widget campaign

[Posted by Jeremiah Owyang]

A Widget Case Study

Yesterday, I gave a Forrester teleconference on Facebook as a ready-made marketing program.  I gave a few examples of success, and the audience was hungry for success metrics and numbers.  One of the case examples was about rebranding an application/widget in this case, Rock You’s vampire application. 

Sony rebrands popular Vampires Widget with 30 Days Night, upcoming Vampire movie
Vampires, which you may already know as the RPG where members bite each other to receive points (and duel) was already popular with over 3 million installs in Facebook.

Sony pictures, the parent company of the very scary 30 Days Night vampire horror film rebranded the existing application, and launched a sweepstakes contest to generate registrations and glean intelligence.  The grand prizes? 4 wheel ATVs and $1500.

Specifically, they placed banner ads on the rebranded vampire applications which promoted the movie (one could assume that those who opt-in for the vampires application would also like a vampire movie) promoting the sweekstakes.

The measurable results?

The campaign was only live for 3 weeks, and there were 59,100 sweepstakes entries. (success was deemed at 10k, this clearly moved beyond that) 
The visits (I don’t know if they were unique or repeated) were 11,642,051 for the bite page, and 17,652,567 for the stats page (I believe these are part of the interactive experience of the game.
Sony was happy, it exceeded expectations, and users of the application weren’t over branded.

RockYou asked me to keep the price confidential, but based upon the results they told me, I suggested they double the rates.

What worked?

  • Fishing where the fish are: Sony figured out where the already existing community was (remember to fish where the fish are) and rather than trying to rebuild something completely by scratch, they leveraged an existing successful application. 

  • Rely on specialists for new arenas:
    In my many briefings with vendors and clients, specialized firms often provide something a general interactive firm or corporate web marketing team can’t.  They have experience, know their area, and in this case, they knew to rely on someone that already knew Facebook.

  • Compliment the existing user experience:
      Sony didn’t beat the 3 million existing users with heavy advertising (and I’m sure RockYou wouldn’t have let them) over the head, instead offered value by giving away prizes, and tied in a movie that already existed.

What could have been better?
In my opinion, it would be great if:

  • The campaign lasted longer than 3 weeks.
  • Rather than simply embedded, Sony could sponsor elements from the movie and integrate within the game.  (vampires could fight at different scenes from the movie, key characters from the movie could become non-player characters, etc). They already have a multi-player game that could have tied in.
  • A spin off game could have emerged just around the game, where members could give virtual gifts to each relating to the movie, then cross-selling other sony products and merchandise.
  • Also realize there are very few applications in Facebook that are this popular, don’t expect these type of results to occur every time.
  • Other Widget Network Developers

    Looking bigger, RockYou isn’t the only vendor doing this type of work, also see Slide, Clearspring, Gigya, and a bunch of others. If you’re in the space, feel free to leave a comment below adding to the conversation.

    For those Forrester clients who attended the webinar, I hope that clears up the question (as I promised to find the answer), and thanks to Ro Choy and team of Rock You for the details. 

    If you need to know more, read this weekly digest of the social network industry, or see all posts tagged Facebook.