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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

This Is Universal

Entered in Video Series


Universal Destinations & Experiences set out to give audiences an overview of all there is to do at Universal Orlando Resort through an entertaining video series modeled after the shows potential guests were already watching on their favorite streaming services. This is Universal proves that researching vacations can be as much fun as taking them.

Our product is vast, containing acres of attractions, hotels, and restaurants. We needed to find a way to cover it all and engage mid-funnel consumers long enough for them to understand the following:

Strategy and Execution

Universal recognized that when it comes to vacations, most families make the easy choice rather than put in the work required to decide on a new destination. Attempts to research are often met with the fatigue that comes with exposure to traditional marketing. After all, wouldn’t you rather turn on Netflix than scroll through countless web pages and clear pop-ups?

In an attempt to meet mid-funnel consumers in their wheelhouse, we identified the common thread in some of the most popular travel and reality shows: Real life people who are not experts at something seek out an expert to learn and gain from the experience. By the end of the episode, the couple buys the house or the celebrity leaves the foreign country with a renewed sense of purpose.

Partnering with the creative agency BarkBark, we found two parents who were authentically interested in a Universal Orlando Resort vacation but didn’t know where to start their research. The Fikbohms were then paired with Jake, a genuine superfan guide who grew up in Orlando, to complete the ultimate hands-on tour of all three theme parks and eight hotels.

Viewers can now watch six episodes of This is Universal and take away everything they need to know to get started planning their own stay at Universal Orlando Resort. But most importantly, the series is fun. Jake brandishes witticisms with ease and the audience gets to see experiential on-ride footage and candid reactions to every exciting new land.


The release of This is Universal was met with excitement from media and fans alike with the series being featured on WESH 2 nightly news, as well as sites like ThrillGeek, Nerds & Beyond, and Chip & Company.

The show, which includes 6 episodes and a trailer, has garnered the following on YouTube:

However, our ultimate aim was to see how much destination information we could get consumers to willingly take in. Viewers have watched an average of 54% of each episode. Considering that the average episode length is 12:38, that’s almost 7 minutes of watch time, which amounts to quite a bit of education. According to YouTube, this surpasses the average for this statistic – we all know how short attention spans are in today’s age – indicating that our series was a success.

Comments on episodes call out host Jake’s magnetism and alluded to the streamer-centric inspiration for the show, emphasizing our achievement:

The show was such a success that Season 2 was immediately greenlit to focus this time on a new family exploring Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time...coming soon.


Video for This Is Universal

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Universal Destinations & Experiences


Entry Credits