How Crunchyroll, Hasbro and Mastercard Tap Fandoms

Find and keep your most loyal customers

Fans represent the most loyal consumers for any given product. Understanding the power of fan communities allows smart brands to increase their reach among those communities through novel partnerships. Here’s how Mastercard, Crunchyroll and Hasbro surprise and delight fans to build their own fandoms. 

Crunchyroll serves anime fans Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Crunchyroll is an established entertainment brand offering the ultimate 360 anime experience with features like a streaming service, film distribution and online manga for a particular audience: anime fans. Anime represents many beloved global franchises, characters and stories that are enjoyed by a diverse community of millions of fans.

To widen its consumer base and give established fans and new audiences more of what they love, Crunchyroll continuously seeks to introduce new, original stories as well as expand established franchises. 

Enter Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Dragon Ball has been an anime staple since it was released in 1984 in Japan by Toei Animation. The series has spanned multiple seasons, spinoffs, movies and reached hundreds of millions of people. 

Fans were craving a new theatrical experience from Dragon Ball and when Toei produced a new film, Crunchyroll knew how to activate fans to create a true moment. The massive film launch this summer started with a major communications push around the new trailer and theatrical release, a Hall H panel plus an outdoor symphonic concert at San Diego Comic Con. 

Comedian Jay Pharaoh with voice actors Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat at the premiere of Crunchyroll’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero in LA. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Crunchyroll)

Interviews with the Japanese creators and producers, as well as the English dub cast, were a daily staple in the weeks leading up to the premiere. An orange-carpet event—complete with star-studded appearances from celebrities, influencers and fan attendees—was the penultimate moment before Crunchyroll led the widest distribution ever for an anime film in the U.S. and a premiere amid summer blockbusters.  

The big investment and commitment to its fans demonstrated that Crunchyroll deeply cares and believes in their passionate fandom. By investing in the marketing and publicity of the theatrical release, Crunchyroll was able to activate fans young and old, new and established; which only draws anime fans deeper into Crunchyroll’s ecosystem of content and services.

The result? A blistering No. 1 opening weekend, now sitting at $34 million entering its third week and ranked as the No. 4 anime film in U.S. box office history. Now very satisfied fans will look to Crunchyroll to be their resource for anime.

Hasbro invests in fans with new characters and lore

Hasbro is no stranger to building global brands like My Little Pony, NERF, Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly. These franchises have rapt players and fans all over the world, mainly due to Hasbro’s continuous investment in new entertainment properties, releases, and characters. 

The brand’s iconic status derives from a commitment to constantly expand the lore behind each brand. One of my favorites is the newest addition—Murph, the NERF brand’s first-ever official mascot, created by Hasbro in tandem with The Martin Agency. 

NERF’s official mascot, Murph, was created by Hasbro in tandem with The Martin Agency.

Designed to be a character that embodies the fun and playfulness of the brand, Murph crashed consumer consciousness everywhere with a public relations push across lifestyle, entertainment and consumer media. Murph was a viral success with late night and online chatter, with Late Late Show host James Corden, Late Show host Stephen Colbert and Late Night host Seth Meyers highlighting the mascot. Hasbro even has its own Twitter account for Murph, @MurphFromNerf.

The persistent commitment to new lore and characters keeps fans engaged, demonstrating to the community that beloved brands will continue to receive the attention that fans deserve. Murph was enthusiastically welcomed, with its initial launch garnering more than 216 million media impressions.

Mastercard taps into esports fans with League of Legends

Mastercard has always proactively sought new ways to diversify its world-class esports and entertainment portfolio to reward cardholders through the Priceless platform. Acknowledging the growing importance of gaming as a category, esports offered a unique way for Mastercard to tap a massive fan community and connect with it through its members’ passions. 

In response, we collaborated with Mastercard to strike a deal with Riot Games, the marquee gaming studio and creator of the world-renowned game League of Legends. The partnership secured Mastercard as the official financial services partner of League of Legends Esports, giving the brand the opportunity to provide fans with a wide range of priceless experiences and exclusive cardholder benefits with onsite activations, digital integrations and card products.

The partnership provides Mastercard engagement to a global esports audience that grows exponentially each year across live tournaments and streams. The 2021 League of Legends Esports World Championship Final shattered previous viewership records with an average minute audience of more than 30 million viewers and over 73 million peak concurrent viewers.

As this massive fan community grows in spending power and ages up, Mastercard ensured it reached them early by committing to supporting the esports and League of Legends fan community. Gaming remains a key category pillar for Mastercard as the company looks to expand its presence amongst gamers worldwide. 

From novel world building in Roblox to new communities built on Discord to innovative cross-promotions and partnerships, it’s an exciting time for brands to tap new fan communities and an even better time to be a fan yourself. 

Melissa Schumer oversees the digital entertainment and gaming division at R&CPMK and applies her strategic and creative communications expertise to brand campaigns, product launches, event activations and thought leadership. She currently serves as a senior communications advisor to leading brands such as Hasbro, YouTube and Red Bull Gaming.