Rogers customers decide fate of Needlebaum

On the brand's YouTube channel, consumers can choose the next move for the perennially frustrated campaign character.

A hapless character in Rogers ads who always seems to have trouble with his phone because he is not a customer is now starring in his own web series  where his fate is decided by the viewers.

Developed by Publicis, the YouTube channel allows the viewer to choose whether they want the character to answer a phone or talk to a cop for example, and watch the mystery unfold in their own sequence. Tim Kavander, Publicis’ group creative director on Rogers, says he is confident the series (which takes up about six minutes if one watches all of the videos) will be well-received because the character, Needlebaum, already has a fan base because of the previous Rogers ads.

‘Knowing that consumers love these characters, we thought we’d have a far better chance of engaging them in a longer format. That medium is a much richer experience than we could deliver in a 30-second spot, and it’s just a great way to tell that story,’ Kavander tells MiC.

The webisodes are supported by online advertisements that link to the channel, placed by OMD, as well as Rogers’ social media properties. As well, a related campaign promoting the replacement of mobile devices for current Rogers customers runs on TV, OOH and print. But the webisodes are new territory, creatively, for the brand.

‘You’re kind of moving into that unexplored territory. Certainly you’ll see a lot more brands doing choose your own adventure,’ Kavander says. ‘As long as it’s entertaining and as engaging as possible then you can really deliver your product information and consumers won’t be upset by that because you’re rewarding them with entertainment,’ he adds.