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.
To bring our message to life, we partnered with filmmaker and artist Daniel Askill to create a series of short films that literalised the 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.
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.
Each feature of the campaign was conceived to express a different facet of close friendship. On-platform, we partnered with Daniel Askill to create three spots that showed how Watch Together on Messenger could make you feel like you were right next to your close friends. All three of our spots start innocently enough: a young person, alone and bored, gets a message from a friend asking them to watch content together on Messenger using the Watch Together feature. Once the message is received, our three environments explode into a dreamscape and our young stars fly through space before landing next to their best friends to watch together in real life.
All three shoots were massive undertakings that took coordination between teams on the ground and remotely. We shot all three set ups on the same day, so each vignette had to be captured with maximum efficiency and coordination. Previsualisation of our visual effects was key, and our post team’s ability to visualize the final product at every step of the process was crucial in keeping our team on track. On our shoot days, massive rotating and destructible sets were set into action, creating most of the effect in camera. Our cast members were set up in aerial harnesses and flown through each set, perfectly timed with the set rotation. Of course, our visual effects partner Framestore was instrumental in tying all of the practical elements together and elevating them beyond our imaginations. To keep things as authentic as possible, we also cast real groups of best friends to play off of each other.
To further support our on-platform push, we created Instagram-specific cut-downs of our spots that asked users to rotate their phones along with the action for a more tactile effect. Simultaneously, we launched a series of motion posters and 360º images across Meta platforms that would further illustrate the undeniable pull of being “That Close.”
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%). The campaign most strongly resonated with users who are already aware of the Watch Together feature on Messenger. Our campaign exceeded our delivery goals across all channels with overall impressions exceeding 4 Billion.