Hit Entertainment’s ubiquitous Thomas & Friends property has been a favorite among youngsters across the globe for a generation. Hit hired FG to create a microsite to promote the release of the Thomas & Friends Blue Mountain Mystery DVD.
The primary objective of the site is to generate buzz leading up to the DVD’s release. Those familiar with the brand know that new characters generate much of the excitement around any Thomas & Friends episode or movie. Hit and FG devised a strategy that leverages this intrigue around the new characters to entice fans to regularly return to the promotional site.
The one-page site is an interactive tableau, featuring Thomas in the center of the movie’s setting, the Blue Mountain Quarry. Over the period of time leading up to the DVD release, the various new characters are revealed within the environment along with an assortment of games, videos, and downloadable activities.
The microsite is promoted from the Thomas & Friends homepage in an expandable countdown widget. FG built the widget to countdown the days to the next content release on the site to entice fans to continue to check back for more updates leading to the release of the DVD. A non-expandable version is also embedded within the scene on the microsite.
Built in Flash, an XML file orchestrates the content releases. The content and release schedule varies to a degree for the primary locales (US, CA, UK, & AU) and Team FG worked with Hit to devise a release strategy accommodate any variations.
As mentioned above, FG developed Flash games for three of the four new characters. All of the games star Thomas as the primary avatar and each features one of the new characters as integral components of the game play. The games are designed specifically for preliterate children and include voice over instructions, fail-free game play, and large hit points on clickable interface elements.