For Gen Z, friendship is everything; it’s celebration, introspection, growth, tension, conflict; everything. To introduce the Messenger brand to the world for the first time, we wanted to focus on the kind of close friendship that makes you feel like the realest version of yourself. Under the banner of That Close, the Messenger team worked to shine a light on the shared experiences Messenger can provide that help young people connect and communicate their most authentic selves. On platform, we enlisted the genius of Daniel Askill to create a campaign that literalised the feeling of closeness using dreamlike visual effects. Off Platform, Bianca Poletti directed a trio of vignettes that found young people using Watch Together to share in the beautiful awkwardness of youth. We didn’t stop there, looking to find Gen Z in the places they live online, we extended That Close into the world of TikTok and created the #ThatCloseMessenger challenge. With the help of some of the platform’s most popular creators, we set off a branded challenge that received over 12 Billion views. Finally, to send the campaign off with a bang, we partnered with Travis Barker and Steve Aoki to create a free concert by friends for friends that could only be experienced through Watch Together. Combined, our efforts served to brand Messenger as more than an app, but a place where the rollicking and roiling experience of friendship can be expressed in its most raw and authentic form.
In 2021, the Messenger team set out to drive reappraisal with Gen Z by establishing Messenger as the place to feel closer to those who matter most. This was the first in-market execution of Messenger’s updated Brand Platform, the culmination of a two-year journey to develop Messenger’s Brand Strategy.
The goal of the That Close campaign was to improve perceptions of Messenger as a place where you can do things like you would IRL with the people you care about the most. To send our message home, we crafted a multi-platform campaign using the Watch Together feature as the product proof point and leveraging Creator partnerships for maximum reach.
We decided to separate the campaign into four streams: on-platform spots that would live across Meta’s family of apps, off-platform ads that would live on TV and streaming, a TikTok challenge that found Gen Z users where they live online and finally a music activation featuring real-life friends Steve Aoki and Travis Barker.
Each feature of the campaign was conceived to express a different facet of close friendship. On-platform, we partnered with filmmaker and artist Daniel Askill to create a series of short films that literalised the emotional pull of close friendship. Combining visual effects with massive practical set builds, Daniel and the team crafted three vignettes that employed an operatic floating effect that simulated the magnetic force of true friendship.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, our off-platform spots on streaming focused on the slices of time we give to our closest friends on the day-to-day. Once again using Watch Together, as a frame, director Bianca Poletti gave us an intimate peek at three groups of young friends finding the space and comfort to express themselves fully on Messenger. All three spots were driven by their soundtracks, including an appearance by Olivia Rodrigo’s hyper-catchy, hyper-scathing “good4u.”
Bringing the “That Close” ethos to live performance, Messenger reunited real-life friends Travis Barker and Steve Aoki for a one-night performance at Steve’s Playhouse in Las Vegas that was streamed exclusively on Messenger. This innovative use of our co-watching feature followed the rawkus pair from the stage to exclusive moments including the creation of a Soundmoji-powered sampler. Steve and Travis’ custom Soundmojis were also made available to use within the app along with a bespoke sticker pack.
To bring the campaign to a close we launched Meta’s first ever TikTok hashtag challenge. In partnership with the platform’s most relevant creators, our #ThatCloseMessenger challenge focused on showing the difference between friends who are merely close, and friends who are truly That Close. With over 1000 videos created garnering 12 Billion views, our campaign send-off made sure to hammer home the value of our closest friendships.
The campaign was successful in achieving our strategic objective of improving perceived brand value, measured by lifts in recognition of phrases like “Feel Closer” (+2.4pts @ 95%) and “Shared Experience” (+2.3pts @ 95%).
Our campaign exceeded our delivery goals across all channels with overall impressions exceeding 4 Billion for on- and off-platform campaigns. Additionally, our TikTok challenge garnered over 12 Billion views on over 1,000 created videos. At the same time, our music activation with Steve and Travis lead to significant lift in usage of Soundmojis within the product.
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