Direct mail case study: SpongeBob makes a splash during Hari Raya

The year 2019 has been dubbed the “Best Year Ever” by Nickelodeon as it marks the 20th anniversary of the show SpongeBob SquarePants running on its channel. The brand is paying a year-long “sponge-rific” tribute to one of the most iconic characters ever created across all platforms, and this has also been extended to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri season.

Seeing how the occasion aligned with the timing and festive spirit of the SpongeBob 20th celebrations, Nickelodeon created SpongeBob-themed Hari Raya packets as a touch-point for fans to experience the optimistic sea sponge and other Bikini Bottom friends.

In a nod towards SpongeBob’s quirky nature, the packets were designed with a contemporary look, but with a traditional twist. Bright shades of green, pink and blue were selected as the main colours of the packets, providing backdrop to a geometric ketupat pattern and other design elements accented in gold. Building on the SpongeBob SquarePants theme, the packets feature either SpongeBob or friends in traditional Hari Raya costumes and “Eid Mubarak” well wishes.

SpongeBob’s 20th anniversary celebrations were run across Asia as fans partied at a SpongeBob PartyPants event on 27-28 July and tuned in to the SpongeBob 20 Pop Up channel on Singtel from 26 July to 11 August. The lovable yellow sponge also painted the town yellow through SpongeBob-themed 3D bus shelters at NEX, Plaza Singapura and VivoCity.

Elsewhere in the region, SpongeBob celebrated with fans at Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru during the Hari Raya season, with a gigantic inflatable which made it into the Malaysia Book of Records as the biggest inflatable cartoon character in the country.

In the Philippines, Nickelodeon partnered with Secret Fresh – a collective of Filipino artists representing a variety of mediums, including graffiti, paintings and sculptures, art toys, street wear fashion, furniture and other innovations of classic and modern designs combined. These artists re-imagined SpongeBob and created limited-edition art, figurines and prints. Japan kicked off celebrations at Tokyo Summerland, one of the largest water parks in Japan, while in China, Nickelodeon collaborated with internationally renowned artists whose unique creations were available for sale at an exhibition pop-up in Shenyang’s MIXC mall.

There will also be publishing and merchandise collaborations with Johnny Lau (creator of Singapore’s Mr Kiasu), and Faza Meonk (creator of Indonesia’s Si Juki) later this year.

Objective

To bring a smile to the faces of recipients with one of the most recognised characters of all time, and serve as a collectible item.

Target audience

Clients and partners of Nickelodeon and parent company, Viacom International Media Networks, who were based in Asia. New and existing customers of affiliate partners were a secondary target audience.

Results

Packaged in a pack of six and with 5000 sets produced, an estimated 30,000 recipients in Asia would have received a SpongeBob packet from family and friends this year. Recipients who received the packets gave very positive feedback on the design of the packets as it was a unique departure from the traditional green packets. The localised treatment of the packets also made the character more relevant for fans in this region.

The writer is Yvette Yeo, communications, Southeast Asia Viacom, International Media Networks.

The Direct Mail Case Study is brought to you by Marketing Magazine in association with SingPost.