When United International Pictures (UIP) embarked to launch Shark Tale in Singapore, online was a critical element of their media mix to reach out to Singapore’s movie-going audience. Shark Tale was a story about a little fish named Oscar who had big dreams. When Oscar stumbles upon a shark killed by a dropped anchor, he rushes to take credit for it, claiming to be a shark-slayer and becoming the toast of the reef and so the story goes on.

The animation film is vibrant, colourful, hip and fun. In order to build a high level of awareness and buzz for the movie, a dynamic and interactive platform to convey the essence of the film was key. One of the aims of the online campaign was to enable the audience to participate in the movie which was not possible over traditional media platforms like TV, print or outdoor ads. The online campaign had to be eye-catching plus fun and witty, featuring colourful fish which portrayed characters in the film that talked and behaved like in the human world. The objective: To shout that this was a must-see movie.

UIP launched a series of banner ads, a thirty-second streaming TVC, contests and promotions on various Yahoo! Singapore sites. This included the homepage (yahoo.com.sg), Yahoo! Movies as well as Yahoo! Mail.

A unique feature of UIP’s campaign was the execution of a streaming TVC (which is seldom used by advertisers) in some of their banner ads. The thirty-second clip showcased snippets of the film and its characters with cool music and exciting film images, grabbing the attention of online audiences immediately when they were exposed to the banner. This complemented links to the movie’s micro-site, enabling audiences to find out more about the film, its characters and view its trailers.

To engage audiences, various contests were introduced. First, audiences were given the chance to win movie tickets by participating in a ‘Match the Voice’ contest where they had to match the voices of the film’s characters to three actors who lent their voices – Oscar, Don Lino and Lenny, voiced by Will Smith, Robert De Nero and Jack Black. Second, an SMS contest for 40 winners to get their hands on movie collectibles such as posters, the motion picture soundtrack and an Oscar inflatable toy was on offer. Thirdly, hampers were also up for grabs.

Said Flora Goh, Marketing Director at United International Pictures, “Results from the online campaign were great, with one of the highest response rates we have ever gotten.” Ad impressions for the campaign topped nearly 1.9 million in a one-week period, and more than half a million people were exposed to the streaming TVCs on the Yahoo! Singapore homepage and well as Yahoo! Mail.

“The online campaign was significant as the platform allows interaction with the audience and for a dynamic product such as movies, it is important to be able to convey the essence of the movie across. In this case, Shark Tale being such a hip and fun movie with strong colours and lively animation totally required a similarly developed environment and Yahoo! fit the bill perfectly. Having the ad upfront on the homepage is the best strategy,” said Flora Goh.

Shark Tale set a new record by clinching the biggest-ever opening for an animated film in Singapore and just two weeks after the film’s opening, it grossed over $2 million.

The movie has certainly hit a cord with Singapore’s avid movie fans, staying at number one for three weeks and making a huge splash at the box office.