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Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

DreamWorks Animation - Trolls Digital Marketing

Gold Distinction in Video Pre-Roll

Entered in Multi-Platform Campaign

About this entry

Our team at DreamWorks Animation introduced the world of the Trolls to a brand-new audience using a four-quadrant digital marketing and social media campaign. Designed to mirror the smart, funny and irreverent themes of the movie, our campaign utilized a multi-platform digital strategy including an immersive global website, interactive HTML5 web application, dynamic YouTube video ads and innovative social media content.

Since Justin Timberlake served as both Executive Music Producer and voice talent, Trolls presented a unique opportunity to integrate music into the digital campaign. To seize this opportunity, we engaged with emerging influencers on and AwesomenessTV to increase film awareness amongst young audiences.

Not only did the campaign utilize social media influencers in paid media, we also integrated digital relevance into the film itself by casting four well-known YouTube influencers: GloZell Green, Meg DeAngelis, Ricky Dillon and Kandee Johnson. The campaign capitalized on their social popularity both online and offline at such events like VidCon.

DreamWorks Animation teamed up with YouTube for additional digital relevance by launching a unique series of YouTube ads using Vogon, an all-new digital tool that attached customized Trolls pre-roll ads to relevant YouTube videos.

By employing a fresh, multi-platform digital approach, we were able to introduce Trolls to millions of moviegoers and helped the film earn more than $339M in global box office sales.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

How can DreamWorks Animation reinvent a childhood toy from the 1960s? This was the unique and tricky question that we had to answer for our new film, Trolls. Our goal was to spark interest with young audiences who were not familiar with the brand.

Our biggest hurdle was relevance. How do we make Trolls relevant again? The film had an amazing cast that included Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani and James Corden. We knew we could draw adult audiences with these names alone; however, we wanted to reach tweens and teens. The answer was influencers.

Below are the unique ways we teamed up with influencers to promote film awareness among young audiences:

In additional to influencers, we also recruited Google and YouTube to help us with consumer relevance. Their answer was Vogon - a tool that allows brands to dynamically embed text, audio or images within videos to generate unlimited, customizable variations. As a result, we were able to customize Trolls pre-roll ads to target specific audiences. For example, a teen female who clicked on a Taylor Swift music video was served with a pre-roll ad of our Trolls dancing under the text "You & Your Squad Will Be Shaking It With Trolls!" while a young mom who clicked on a 30-minute workout video was served the same pre-roll ad but with different text: "Only 30 Minutes? How Soon Do We Start?"

With the help of social media influencers and hyper-targeted YouTube ads, the film's awareness increased amongst tweens, teens and young adults; thus, boosting our digital campaign to our four-quadrant target audience.


Trolls exceeded our goals and initial roadmap for the campaign as well as delivered strong returns and reach across all social platforms. Aside from the tremendous amount of social support we received from social influencers, Justin Timberlake fully supported the Trolls campaign, with over 350 posts across his social profiles. See below for the breakdown of results…

YouTube Influencers

AwesomenessTV Screening

YouTube + Vogon Custom Pre-roll Ads

Entrant Company / Organization Name

DreamWorks Animation


Entry Credits