The Avatar franchise hasn’t released new episodes since 2014 when its spinoff The Legend of Korra aired its finale. But, the established fandom remains vocal and active across all social platforms with new audiences finding both series on digital and streaming as well as ongoing publishing initiatives. Nickelodeon already maintains a nostalgia-based social brand — NickRewind — to celebrate content from the nineties and early aughts, but recognizing the way Avatar content resonated across all platforms led us to create a spinoff account. Instagram was the natural home, with it being an increasingly key space to stoke social conversation and engage with the unique and enthusiastic fan community.
The guiding principle behind launching a standalone Avatar Instagram presence was to give the ever-growing fanbase a channel to continue to engage and share their love for the franchise. Our team set out to launch an Instagram page that would become the place for fans to visit for Avatar franchise content. Whether they were stanning Zuko and laughing with Sokka or shipping Korrasami, we wanted to build a dedicated platform for our fans to connect and continue to share their excitement.
We launched just ahead of the series 15th anniversary in February of 2020, allowing us to establish a presence and build on that date as a tactical celebratory moment to further drive fan engagement. With support at launch from the @Nickelodeon brand account and NickRewind nostalgia account, as well as legacy support from both the Avatar and The Legend of Korra Facebook pages, our team was able to make our presence known to fans across social media. Continuing into the spring, we used Instagram Stories as an avenue to build an ongoing relationship with the talented artists in the fan community, establishing Fan Art Fridays, and capitalized on merchandise giveaways to help build awareness of the new page from the outset.
With video views being a KPI for all of our brands, we developed thematic content streams including character evolution arcs and popular scene highlights. In addition to giving the fandom a platform, we wanted to offer never-before-seen exclusive content including behind-the-scenes pieces on the franchise development and creation and a sketch to screen animation series. We paired those with ongoing brand initiatives including our On This Day series that celebrates key franchise moments in history and Top 5, a compilation series where we can showcase listicle videos that highlight everything from the most memorable villains to the cutest Appa moments.
We also pushed our creative limits with dynamic standalone video content like recreating the Avatar opening credits in real life and searching out all of the easter eggs shared between Avatar and Korra. Our team also capitalized on trending moments, creating meme and generator content tied to relevant content formats like character trading cards, what type of elemental bender you would be, and your tribe based on your zodiac sign. To keep things fresh, we developed standalone pieces including franchise locations as Airbnb listings and destinations and, for that added Nickelodeon twist, fun character mashups including meeting fan favorites from the universe mashed up with established Nick animation favorites.
From creative to copy to our always-on approach to fan engagement, every piece of this launch strategy was engineered to build the ultimate in fandom social experiences for one of our most dedicated audiences.
In less than a year, Avatar has quickly grown to become one of the most engaged with pages of all the Nickelodeon brands, second only to SpongeBob Squarepants, but with only 12% of the latter’s following.
Year to date the page has garnered over 380k fans organically, without any paid support. Outside of celebrating and sharing love for the franchise and its memorable characters, we’re able to leverage this growing audience to support cross company initiatives for the brand including streaming priorities, ongoing publishing programs, and a growing list of consumer products and retailers.
Video views are a key metric for all Nickelodeon brands when measuring success. The Avatar page charts at 150k average video views, again second only to SpongeBob Squarepants when benchmarked against all Nickelodeon brands.