Spotted! Adult Swim makes Rick roll

It's not a dimension-hopping spaceship, but it'll do.

Today, the newest Canadian specialty channel launches with a two-month free preview.

Adult Swim, the new 24-hour adult comedy channel operated by Corus Entertainment, is set to launch with a number of popular programs previously unavailable in Canada, such as Check it Out With Dr. Steve Brule and The Eric Andre Show. Another show part of the launch is the ever-popular Rick and Morty.

Today also marks the start of Corus’ paid media campaign to promote the channel. To drum up some excitement, it’s embarking on a mini-tour around Toronto with a giant “Rickmobile,” shaped after the titular Rick in one of Adult Swim’s most well-known programs, Rick and Morty.

The Rickmobile kicked off the day at Toronto’s Sugar Beach, near Corus HQ, before heading to Bloor and Church Streets to attract the 9-to-5 office drone crowd. Later, it will travel to Yonge-Dundas Square in a bid for mass attention, before parking outside the Toronto Blue Jays game to catch the eyes of fans and families.

The main point of the Rickmobile is to get the word out about the channel. But Allison Carr, head of specialty marketing for Corus, says that’s a big job.

“Adult Swim in the U.S. has been an incredibly successful brand, but they had over 15 years to build up the brand, which started as a small block on Cartoon Network. They went through a million experiments, tests and learning experiences. We’ve had essentially four weeks to build up a really strong marketing plan.”

Carr tells MiC that other international broadcasters have picked up Adult Swim, but only in small programming packages, such as blocks of programming on Cartoon Network. Corus is the first international partner to pick up a 24-hour Adult Swim channel. Besides the Rickmobile, the campaign will feature high-impact OOH installations at Yonge and Dundas Streets as well as College St. and Spadina Ave. to meet its mass appeal missions and target young adult viewers. It will also activate through TTC ads and, of course, TV and digital.

While today’s activation focuses on Rick and Morty, Carr says it’s imperative that the team gets the word out about the channel as a whole. “Everything we’ve focused on so far has been about the whole channel, which is why we have brand ambassadors with the truck teaching about the brand overall. We’ll be able to let them know channels, premiere times… we can’t reveal when season 4 of Rick and Morty will premiere, but it will be day-and-date with the U.S. premiere.”

So why centre on Rick and Morty? Carr says the property is so well-known, it’s “really synonymous with the [Adult Swim] brand.” Plus, she adds, “fans of the show are unbelievably loyal and passionate.”

Indeed, Rick and Morty has amassed a large and loyal fan base over the length of its run; in 2017 a fan movement based off a one-off joke even led McDonalds to temporarily re-introduce a limited edition nugget sauce from the 90′s (which it promptly ran out of due to high fan demand).

With only one day to drive the Rickmobile around, Corus wanted to be strategic about its locations. The Bloor and Church location, aside from its centrality, was chosen in order to be visible to a number of Corus’ media and advertising agency partners, as well as BDU partner Rogers. Yonge-Dundas and the Jays game were more about mass appeal. The Rickmobile has his own social media accounts, which will be promoting the activation throughout the day.

Corus did all creative and media buying on the Adult Swim campaign in-house.

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