LeapFrog Launches YouTube-Style Campaign

LeapFrog Launches YouTube-Style Campaign

June 25, 2009

There is an explosion of video on the web. The line between broadcast and online video is blurring as bandwidth rates increase and people increasingly turn to the web for news, social networking and entertainment. Not only is the amount of video on the web expanding daily, the quality is too. And as audiences spend more time (and money) online, the web is swiftly becoming the prime space for media advertising.

Michael Chanover, the Creative Director for Web/Online for the educational toy maker LeapFrog approached Studio B to create a series of innovative online videos showcasing their new product line for their website. The goal of the videos was to show children interacting authentically with the toys. The result was a series of YouTube style videos for the web, or what we called YouGen videos. The videos have been a hit and inspired an ongoing collaboration. LeapFrog has found that parents are more likely to buy products when they not only know how they work, but when they see a child engaged and learning from the toy.

Studio B has produced sizzle and marketing videos for LeapFrog before, but now with their increasing advertising emphasis on the web, they are working on an ongoing series of web videos, Studio B’s specialty. Below you will find an excerpt from a conversation between Studio B producer, Maris Curran and Michael Chanover.

What is LF's current advertising focus?

Above all, we strive to engage our consumers and tell the “LeapFrog story” in a meaningful way that will resonate with our target demographic. We want to show the magic of LeapFrog products and the value they bring to parents and kids alike. We accomplish this through TV, radio, print, and, increasingly, online communication – with a recent focus on online video content.

How has this focus changed recently with the economic downturn and continual expansion of the web?

Our focus has become much more weighted towards online communications than in the past. The reasons are that a) the Web is, generally speaking, a more efficient communication vehicle, b) the Web offers a great deal of insight and reporting thanks to Web tracking and analytics tools. And perhaps most importantly, c) we are seeing an increasing number of our customers turn toward the Web for product information and communications.

Why did you approach Studio B to produce your online videos?

In looking for a team to help us with our videos, we specifically looked for a group that would be fast, nimble, and effective. While we work closely with several large marketing agencies, we wanted to be a little more hands on with this initiative, and find a partner that would be just that, a partner. Studio B had the perfect skill set, experience, and structure to meet the needs of these projects. Their willingness to problem solve every step of the way, their attention to detail, and their creative vision were instrumental in making these videos a success. We repeatedly engaged Studio B on these projects and continue to enjoy the accolades that we see from our efforts together.

What do you see as the primary advantages of Internet marketing for LF?

The Web is inherently interactive – it allows users to direct their experience in a way that suits their needs. For example, one of the most clicked on links on the leapfrog.com site is the link that allows a user to enter his / her child’s age. Intuitively, it is obvious that the parent of a 2 year-old child is much less interested in products and content for a 6 year-old child. By allowing a user to self-select, we’re giving them much more meaningful information. Lastly, we’re able to exercise agile marketing communication that can be refined in real time. If, for example, we discover that a certain message is resonating with consumers, we can adjust our online creative with that message in a matter of days.

What is particularly appealing about online videos?

As a result of the fast and steady growth in high-speed connections over the last three years, we’re seeing tremendous amounts of interest in video content from our customers. While we are certainly using TV as a medium for these videos, the Web is also an obvious venue with unique benefits. Not only is hosting and serving Web video far less expensive than TV, we have a great deal more insight into how our customers are using the videos. In turn, this allows us to develop the content that our customers are clearly seeking and thereby create a feedback loop and dialog with our customers.

What was your goal with the YouGen videos?

In light of the huge value we see in traditional TV advertising, we wanted to use the Web to tell a somewhat different story, a story that focuses on the experiences of real kids engaging with LeapFrog products. Toward this end, we created a series of very unscripted videos of kids using our products. Some of the actors were the children of our own employees (mine included) who shared a love for LeapFrog and were excited to get in front of a camera. We wanted parents to see the products for what they are, and let the children describe their experiences in their own words.

Are the results from the YouGen videos quantifiable? How successful are they from your point of view?

Not only are the ‘results’ quantifiable, but the overarching impact is too. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from several perspectives. Our Google analytics reports tell us that our videos are among the most trafficked sections of the sites, we know exactly how long our users watch a given video, which videos perform well and which do not, where, within the site, our users go after watching the videos, how many users convert and purchase a product, and more. They garner a great deal of traffic and are often the most viewed piece of content on a given page. Our internal teams, executives included, are very excited about the video content we’ve created. We believe that it does an excellent job of telling the “LeapFrog story” in a very real, compelling, and attainable manner. In addition, we’ve heard consistent praise from our retail partners that our online marketing sites are “best in class” and that we’re leading the pack within our industry around innovative, new ways of telling product stories over the Web. By hosting these videos on their websites, our retailers believe they have yet another way to communicate with their/our customers.