- Toy company Hasbro, a brand known for marketing products through TV shows such as "My Little Pony," decided to go digital by launching its new Hanazuki line on YouTube instead, per a case study published on Think With Google.
- For Hanazuki's launch, Hasbro created a video series called "Hanazuki: Full of Treasures," published with premium placement on the YouTube Kids app. Hasbro augmented the release with TrueView ad campaigns to reach parents on the main YouTube app.
- "It was time to get with the times. These days brands can't tell consumers, 'To engage with our brand, you need to be in your living room, watching TV, on Monday at 2 pm," Victor Lee, SVP of global digital marketing at Hasbro, wrote in the Google post. "Today people watch what they want, whenever they want [...] So as brands, we have to be consistently present — and let people binge-watch and engage further if they’d like."
From '80s staples like "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers" to modern iterations of "My Little Pony," Hasbro has always used strong video content tie-ins to build a creative world around its brands. The shift from TV to YouTube for the new Hanazuki line points to the overall decline in TV engagement, especially among younger demographic groups, as viewing habits shift to be more fluid overall.
YouTube, on the other hand, is wildly popular with kids, and has become an alternative to children's TV with video formats like "Let's Plays," where creators film themselves playing popular video games like "Minecraft." Stemming from that, Hasbro made several strategic decisions with the Hanazuki campaign, beginning with carefully planning the content release timing and volume.
The show launched on the first full moon of the year, an event that ties directly into its story, with the rest of the episodes released in batches for a programming calendar that kept engagement high while providing new viewers flexibility in accessing the content, per the Google post. Because the show was designed for YouTube rather than TV, Hasbro's ads were catered specifically to the platform and included bumper ads, TrueView Discovery and TrueView in-stream ad formats.
Hasbro also optimized ads for engagement and not just reach. Instead of running "set it and forget it" ad campaigns, the brand tracked metrics like shares and comments and optimized ad content by incorporating music, call-to-action overlays and strong branding within the first five seconds the video.