How Cartoon Network brought back ‘The Powerpuff Girls’
This case study examines Cartoon Network’s digital-first campaign to reach a new generation of Australian viewers.
This article originally appeared in The Versus Issue, our February/March issue of Marketing. April/May issue coming soon!
Campaign: Return of The Powerpuff Girls
Client: Cartoon Network
The Powerpuff Girls is one of Cartoon Network’s most popular and enduring brands. The latest series premiered in April 2016, 18 years after its initial global debut. The campaign for the new series launch aimed to reach a new generation of young fans as well as reengage an audience of parents that watched the series when they were children.
The strategy incorporated elements that reached beyond the traditional TV space including apps, websites, YouTube influencers and various distribution platforms, to reach new potential fans. The Australian campaign followed one that was launched in the US and incorporated Periscope and iTunes, and included a fashion partnership with Jeremy Scott and Moschino.
With more than US$2.5 billion in retail sales generated since its debut in 1998, The Powerpuff Girls is one of the top grossing Cartoon Network brands of all time.
The campaign aimed to publicise the return of The Powerpuff Girls to the Australian market and to encourage people to tune in to Cartoon Network to view the series. It took a digital-first approach with the intention of targeting the show’s core audience (children five to 12-years-old) and Millennials.
The campaign’s success was measured on achieving engagement beyond standard TV ratings.
The Powerpuff Girls campaign was launched at the beginning of April 2016 and ran throughout the month. The campaign strategy was adapted to suit changing media consumption habits in Australia, with a shift towards the digital space. Turner’s annual ‘New Generations’ study into children’s media viewing habits guided the rollout strategy, which took a digital-first approach to increase campaign reach with social and influencer components.
This supported the program rollout on TV, Turner’s strongest channel.
Execution and results
Cartoon Network has never had a show launch that has hit so many different platforms and expanded its audience across so many linear and non-linear channels. Significantly broadening campaign reach outside of pay
TV channels, Turner incorporated platforms like YouTube, Facebook and a free teaser video on iTunes.
In just three days the teaser video had already amassed 336,000 views on Facebook, with 1.2 million people reached. The following campaign components were executed throughout April 2016.
The Powerpuff Girls teaser clip
A teaser campaign was activated on Cartoon Network’s Australian Facebook page, which included a sneak peek of an episode. This achieved more than 330,000 video views across the Easter long weekend including a large number of Millennials (total of more than 1.2 million people reached).
The ‘Painbow’ episode was also watched before launch via a teaser clip on Cartoon Network’s Australian YouTube channel, with 6480 views.
The Powerpuff Girls free Facebook episode encouraged a large increase in social media reach to previously untapped fans. The video reached 892,360 people and gained 657,770 impressions.
In total, Cartoon Network’s Australian Facebook page grew by 3094 during April (over 10% of the Australian fan base) – the highest recorded growth for the Australian page in one month.
Free iTunes episode
A new episode of The Powerpuff Girls was made available to download on iTunes for free from 15 March to 5 April, streaming concurrently with the TV premiere on Cartoon Network’s regional websites and YouTube channels.
For the first time in Turner’s history, one series took over all of its channels on-air for the premiere. General entertainment channels, including Warner TV, Oh!K and TCM Turner Classic Movies, broadcast the debut episodes in addition to Turner’s children’s channels, Toonami, Boomerang, POGO and Cartoon Network.
The network had never had a show launch that hit so many different platforms and expanded reach across such a wide variety of linear and non-linear channels. The Powerpuff Girls has been a great success since launch, belonging
to the top five Cartoon Network favourite shows.
Millennial influencer partnerships
Australia-based YouTube influencer, Jamie Curry of Jamie’s World featured a ‘watch along’ video hosted on her YouTube page.
Curry watched the ‘Tiara Trouble’ episode and gave commentary on it to her followers.
This was pre-promoted by Curry on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Cartoon Network platforms, with a total engagement of 180,000 and more than 5.5 million social impressions.
The video recorded 192,530 total views (4400 of which were on Cartoon Network’s YouTube page). It achieved total engagement of 177,510 and 1,504,800 impressions.
The watch-along video, via the Jamie’s World YouTube page, was successful, generating 100,000 views and 3000 likes, and reached new and previously untapped demographics.
Adding another Australian angle to the launch, the winner of The Voice Kids Australia, Alexa Curtis, was brought on board to localise The Powerpuff Girls theme song. Turner ran the music video on air, YouTube, Facebook and
This aired across new The Powerpuff Girls episodes from 9 April and a music video featuring Curtis aired on 26 April across Cartoon Network, the singer’s YouTube channels and the Cartoon Network website.
PowerpuffYourself.com has created 15 million avatars globally. This includes 160,000 users in Australia – the third largest in APAC.
Apps like the innovative Flipped Out game also encouraged stronger awareness for the title.