In summer of 2021, Nickelodeon expanded the SpongeBob Universe with the launch of a new spinoff series focused on a beloved character, Patrick Star. Given Patrick’s massive fandom, we knew we needed to make a big splash to raise awareness for The Patrick Star Show and differentiate it from the SpongeBob series fans know and love. We needed a campaign that included but also extended beyond traditional media to bring Patrick directly to fans in a new and exciting way.
Our goal was to create a memorable activation that would allow audiences to learn about and interact with The Patrick Star Show, ultimately raising awareness for the series premiere on July 9, 2021. The summer launch window provided the perfect opportunity to reach kids and families on the ground with a unique experience to get them buzzing about everyone’s favorite sea star. We blurred the lines between the real world and world of Patrick Star with a multi-channel approach revolved around a one-of-a-kind interactive web-AR experience.
Knowing families would be out and about that summer, we looked to engage passersby at every corner through our activation! Through cooperation with 8th Wall and House of V Inc., we created a unique AR experience only accessible through a show poster with a QR code. By scanning the code and pointing the phone at the poster, the poster’s artwork of Patrick Star came to life. We enlisted Bill Fagerbakke, voice of Patrick Star, to do original voiceover and worked with the Nickelodeon Animation Studio to create custom animation, making it a truly unique activation to complement the show’s launch.
We then had to bring the experience to audiences everywhere! The activation was twofold: First, wild postings were strategically placed on storefronts, building walls, and street corners in the top 25 SpongeBob SquarePants markets, increasing the chances of engagement with existing fans of the franchise. Second, custom ice cream trucks were branded with the AR poster, making stops around New York and Los Angeles to bring Patrick’s love of ice cream directly to audiences. The ice cream trucks included brand ambassadors dressed like Patrick, pink popsicles in branded wrappers, and audio of the show’s theme song.
To help make an even bigger splash around the ice cream trucks, we hosted an event featuring Bill and invited top tier trade outlets and family influencers to share their excitement for the activation and the series premiere.
We further extended reach with an experience for fans outside of our key on the ground markets with a tap-to-place filter through Instagram’s AR-platform. With this filter, users could still interact with Patrick (plus Patrick’s pet sea urchin Ouchie, The Star Family, and SpongeBob) by placing them in their own environments.
We set out to make Patrick THE star of the summer ahead of The Patrick Star Show series premiere and we certainly did! The Patrick Star Show was the #1 animated series on TV in Q3 2021 among K2-11 across all TV. Kicking off the 4th of July weekend and continuing for the whole month, our AR-wild postings and ice cream trucks shined across all our markets! Throughout the month of July, the average time spent with the AR experienced reached an impressive 2.2 minutes per visit, peaking the day after premiere at 3.4 minutes.