As one of the most successful and well-known comic book publishers in the world, DC Entertainment keeps its fans informed of the latest news and developments for over 70 comic book series, and the brand depends on engaging and outstanding social media to do it. In 2016, DC relaunched its line of comic book titles, managed its Vertigo imprint for mature readers, presented two new imprints under Hanna-Barbera's beloved stable of characters and Gerard Way's experimental Young Animal, and still found time to support theatrical and television partners. On top of all that, DC showed a renewed dedication to forming a meaningful relationship with its fans, valuing their engagement and opinions.
To handle all of this, DC teamed up with BLKBX Creative Group to create weekly static and motion campaigns for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, craft innovative social media strategies, and even establish a new platform on Snapchat. With each campaign, content needed to engage with fans, excite readers about future books and DC as a whole, and be innately shareable.
On a weekly basis, DC Entertainment and BLKBX Creative Group create quality graphics. These include ongoing social posts, like animated comic book recaps, and promotions for major book and imprint launches.
Leading up to new book releases every single week, videos across social networks animate comic book art to remind readers of the story so far in DC's biggest ongoing titles. These videos not only give movement to characters and objects, but also add visual effects to make flames and environments appear more real. With these easy-to-find, easy-to-follow videos, any fan or new reader can pick up a book even if they haven't read the issues that came before it. These recaps started with Rebirth, DC's relaunch of its comic book line; when the titles were eventually collected into volumes, the animations were recut into larger videos to encompass up to six issues.
REBIRTH MOTION COVERS
To promote Rebirth, covers were animated to get fans excited for the new stories, characters, and art. Several of these videos were cinemagraphs, imbuing environments or costume elements with natural movement.
LEGENDS OF TOMORROW INSTAGRAM REVEALS
Since 2012, a world of interconnected television shows based on DC's comics has thrived on The CW. In 2016, Legends of Tomorrow joined the lineup, and it promised a treasure trove of comic book Easter eggs for the fans. DC's Instagram account supported this television partner by premiering images of props from the show. When users ran these images through filters on Instagram, they revealed iconic comic book characters connected to each prop, incentivizing fans to participate and share what they discovered.
To promote a new imprint of four comic titles based on Hanna-Barbera's classic cartoons, DC animated character cards for the Flintstones, Jonny Quest's team, a re-imagined Mystery Gang from Scooby Apocalypse, and Mad Max-esque cars with attitude from Wacky Raceland. For many fans, these were their first looks at the new comics, and it drove anticipation to its peak.
Together with DC, musician and comics writer Gerard Way formed a new imprint of four comics called DC's Young Animal: comics for dangerous humans. Social videos harnessed Young Animal's bold, weird vision with hypnotic animations and psychedelic colors to introduce characters whom readers would soon grow to love.
THE WILD STORM
Based on comics from the '90s, vivid videos inspired by sci-fi computer graphics introduced characters from new comic series The Wild Storm. These fueled enthusiasm for the new book using limited available art.
In addition to the above campaigns, DC and BLKBX have also covered live events, encouraging fan participation for Q&As at WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con, and created conversation-sparking graphics for holidays. Notable examples include New Year's cards, allowing fans to choose between two animated videos to send to friends, and an execution for Batman Day which aligned images in DC's Instagram gallery to create a larger infographic.
After over 75 animated recaps, character cards, reveals, and other content, DC and BLKBX's efforts have been tremendously successful. During the Rebirth campaign, over 75 videos were created, earning a total of over 1,000,000 views. Animated recaps brought in an average of 120k views, 50k likes, and 100+ comments per video on Instagram, and are regularly among the highest-performing content types. Moreover, Instagram as a platform gained one million new followers within five months. On average, fan sentiment for upcoming initiatives like Hanna-Barbera and Young Animal ranged from 70% to 90% positive, creating healthy conversation for the brand. Snapchat posts allowing fans to vote for their favorite new books each week garnered an average of 9,000 views and 50 screenshots. Overall, the goals laid out have been met and surpassed, giving DC new benchmarks to aim for in 2017.