Looney Tunes was invented in the golden age of theatrical cartoons and evolved through the rise of TV and syndication. Looney Tunes created cultural resonance because Chuck Jones’ team of writers and animators reflected and commented on their world. That wild, rebellious, and cool DNA was reinvigorated in the ‘90s with the cartoon/reality hybrid hit Space Jam.
Times change. Today’s challenge for legacy brands is not merely jumping into trending conversations, but reinterpreting the brand’s DNA for contemporary social media. WB wants to revitalize Looney Tunes for a social media age and continue the legacy of its cultural relevance.
We needed an authentic persona who could engage in cultural conversations in real time, through a human perspective and a Looney lens: pushing the envelope to gain the right audience’s attention; earn widespread reactions; and create viral, share-worthy content. We wanted to establish ourselves as a notable account, significantly grow followers and increase engagement—without any paid media.
The ACME Intern was our vehicle to bring Looney Tunes onto social, further infusing the brand into pop culture. Taking a page out of Chuck Jones’ book—who, with his team, created fully realized characters with human qualities, and human flaws—we molded the Intern in the same light: a fun, relatable rebel. We then applied the same, if-this-is-true-what-else-is-true logic to our characters, evolving them for social in 2020: Daffy is thirsty, Bugs is always a step ahead, Tweety loves K-Pop. We’re continuing the narrative from our TV screens on a new platform.
Looney Tunes needed a fresh way to engage a Millennial audience and get fans excited to pass on the fandom. With new cartoons on HBO Max and the upcoming 2021 release of Space Jam II, Warner Bros. wanted to gain followers, increase engagement, and create cultural clout with a notable account worth following.
To create a presence on social as wild and pronounced as an episode of Looney Tunes itself, we created a new character, The ACME Intern, to be our narrator. His job: to use his internet savvy, pop culture chops, and fearless attitude to fuse Looney Tunes into the cultural fabric of the internet.
One week prior to launch, the world went on lockdown and our plan for the ACME Intern’s first week on the job at the ACME offices came to a screeching halt. This rapid pivot forced us to re-contextualize the Intern’s job and his relationship with the characters as he worked from home like much of the world. We needed to find a way to adapt him to the situation that was both sensitive and relatable to what our audience was experiencing, and one that would achieve our goals.
With no paid media or production budget, we found creative ways to attract followers by taking risks and creating blended real-world/cartoon content with the existing assets at our disposal.
Maintaining the edge while keeping it family friendly proved a delicate balance as we pushed ourselves to attract a younger audience with a high barometer for brand bullshit.
Phase 1. Introduce the Intern. We tee up our story: a young intern hired to run the Looney Tunes social accounts posting from his own POV.
Phase 2. Capture prominent attention. @WBLooneyTunes creates responsive and reactive content – interacting with celebrities, influencers, and brands with edgy, relevant content.
Phase 3. Bugs’ 80th Birthday. Like an episode of Looney Tunes playing out across social, we told a month-long story with a narrative arc through our Intern’s biggest assignment yet—plan a party for Bugs—complete with conflict, resolution, exclusive product drops, and engaging content.
In just six months, we have gained over 128,000 followers, reached +48 Million, generated +5.1 Million engagements, and have an average Instagram engagement rate of 12.7%, all without any paid support, driven solely by our persona, content, and community management.
The creation of our ACME Intern also birthed a new social character and voice for Looney Tunes. Delivering brand impacts beyond the metrics, our strategy transformed Looney Tunes into a noteworthy follow that fans fell in love with.
Mid-April (takeover) – October STATS:
IG Follower Growth 97K+
TW Follower Growth 32K+
IG Total Impressions: 7.9M
TW Total Impressions: 40M
IG Total Engagements: 965K
TW Total Engagements: 4.1M
IG Avg ER: 12.7%
TW Avg ER: 5.19%