Morph is back after a long hiatus thanks to the power of the social web. Morph first appeared in 1977 and reappeared frequently thereafter as part of artist Tony Hart’s UK TV programmes for children. However, despite his long absence, Peter Lord and the Aardman Animations studio were able to revive Morph, gaining the funding needed to produce a run of original Morph shorts. Morph’s recent triumph showcases the power of social media and branding.
Morph has benefited greatly from a few internet phenomena. Despite not being aired on television since 1997, Morph has a strong presence in social media. He’s gathered hundreds of thousands of views and subscriptions on his official Youtube channel, over 100,000 likes on Facebook with high fan participation, and an active Twitter presence. Through these social media outlets, they were able to reliably engage fans over a long period, which was advantageous when Peter Lord turned to another quirk of the internet age in order to see the old show revived: crowdfunding.
By leveraging their substantial social presence, Aardman Animations had a super-successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Social media even took a center stage on the logistical side of the operation; the facebook page was a primary resource for getting fan input on stretch goals and rewards packages, and the new episodes would be released free to the public via their Youtube channel.
Meanwhile they used social media to reach out to their followers, helping to circulate news about the campaign. Thanks to the brand-recognition behind the Morph name and the wide reach of their social media presence, the news went viral through many networks.
Aardman Animations was able to easily top their £75,000 goal, and went on to collect a total of £110,000 from Morph fans who were excited to see new episodes. As a result, 15 new 1-minute shorts are set to release on Youtube (3 more than the original Kickstarter specified). The campaign successfully closed last year, and production on the new shorts began in January. Last week the first new episode aired, available on the Morph Youtube channel.
Thanks to all the interest generated by their Kickstarter campaign and the new shorts being released, Morph is also making a guest appearance on BBC 2’s See Hear—where he’ll have to learn Sign Language, since he’ll be performing for a deaf audience! It’s a unique and interesting challenge for the animators.
The internet has empowered communities to revive this beloved childhood character, and it’s just one of many stories highlighting the success of social media movements and viral marketing.