Sonic the Hedgehog fans are passionate, dedicated and incredibly faithful. They're also extremely engaged with the brand, so it's safe to say that fan loyalty has made Sonic the world's most beloved hedgehog. Harvard University's genetics department even named a gene after Sonic; when it comes to that level of fan intensity, being genuine is an absolute must.
Connecting with Sonic fans was top of mind when SEGA tapped BLKBX Creative Group with two objectives—help execute a Twitter event to celebrate the launch of Team Sonic Racing, along with creating a fresh take on the popular Sonic Mania Adventures short-form animations.
We're obsessive when it comes to our brand partners, and we harnessed that approach once we began creating content and concepts for the Sonic the Hedgehog brand's rapidly growing social accounts. Getting it right requires an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Sonic, as well as an understanding of the "special sauce" that makes the Sonic fanbase hungry for new content. Over the years, we've found that matching a team member's passions with our brand partners has been a surefire way to create truly memorable experiences for the fan community, and this process has been especially effective when it comes to Sonic.
To promote the release of the Team Sonic Racing game, SEGA partnered with BLKBX Creative Group to activate a live Twitter takeover. Sonic, Tails, Shadow and Dr. Eggman took turns responding to specific fan questions, live on Twitter.
On the day of the takeover, BLKBX Creative Group and SEGA set up a war room to monitor fan and brand engagement so we could respond to questions and comments in real time. Dozens of lucky participants using the hashtag #AskSonic received a customized video reply from the voice actors themselves. Nothing tweeted that day was pre-recorded, and not one line of dialogue was canned. Literally all the reactions and responses were written, recorded and posted live from the war room.
We had an absolute blast, and so did the world as #AskSonic became that day's No. 1 worldwide trending Twitter hashtag. The Twitter takeover racked up huge metrics—2.5 million video views, 2 million engagements and an incredible 12 million impressions across the platform.
Sonic's Papercraft Animation
To complement the popular Sonic Mania Adventures short-form animations, we decided to produce a new papercraft episode, our third to date. This animation style resonates well with Sonic's core fans. The result was a fun, highly shareable stop-motion animation called Team Sonic Racing: Papercraft Edition. The narrative had Sonic and friends pair up in teams for a spontaneous snow-sculpting contest. Fan participation included loads of Easter eggs and prompted the audience to weigh in on which team created the most unique design.
Fan sentiment for Team Sonic Racing and Sonic Mania Adventures: Papercraft Edition has been overwhelmingly positive. Our goal was to spark friendly and impassioned conversations with the Sonic community through innovative content, and the most rewarding outcome is that they are asking for more. Harnessing Sonic's campaign data has also played a significant role in identifying the content that fans are craving.
We thoroughly enjoy working side by side with SEGA's Sonic team and see the brand's success as directly parallel to ours. BLKBX Creative Group's partnership with SEGA is based on a long-term vision of purpose driven teamwork and creative collaboration. The responsibility that's been entrusted in us by SEGA to represent the Sonic brand and support their social media programs has inspired us in a direct and meaningful way.
Ultimately, the SEGA team embraced the combination of a highly effective Twitter campaign and a fresh style of animation, and thankfully, so did Sonic's global fan community.
The unexpected paid off. We think Sonic and Tails would be proud.