Video Marketing: 7 Tips from Frederator Studios’ Cartoon Hangover

Everyone’s talking about video marketing – specifically, “going viral” – so let’s take a look at how the pros do it. Currently Frederator Studios’ Cartoon Hangover channel is sitting pretty at 747,816 channel subscribers and 51,268,153 video views (those same counts were 409,921 and 24,227,152 back in May 2013). So how’d they do it?

Well, if you’ve ever seen the shows “Adventure Time” or “The Fairly Oddparents,” then you know that Frederator Studios’ cartoons are known for pushing the boundaries between cartoons for kids and adults. And let’s face it – cartoons aren’t just for children. Frederator embraced that by creating its own cartoon channel on Youtube, called Cartoon Hangover.

The channel launched in 2012 as a way to share brilliant cartoons and animation with the world without being bound by the constraints of TV. As they put it, “Cartoon Hangover is the home for cartoons that are too weird, wild, and crazy for television.” Currently boasting two successful animated digital short series (“Bravest Warriors” and “SuperF*ckers”) and six new series rolling out this spring, (“Our New Electrical Morals,” “Bee and PuppyCat,” “Rocket Dog,” and three others) it’s safe to say the folks at Frederator know a thing or two about creating and marketing Youtube videos. Here’s what you can learn from them!

Use the right social networks to promote your videos

Of course Cartoon Hangover is active on the basics like Facebook and Twitter, but they also go above and beyond on other sites to make sure their content reaches as many eyes as possible. For instance, they’re extremely active on Tumblr. The not only have a Tumblr for all things Cartoon Hangover, but there is also a separate Tumblr blog for each series on the channel.

Cartoon Hangover has also tapped into a social network that many marketers still stray away from – Reddit. They are an active user on Reddit and they also have a “Bravest Warriors” subreddit. Another good choice for Cartoon Hangover is Instagram. Since cartoons are very visual, it only makes sense to post artwork, merchandise, and Cartoon Hangover employees and artists in action.

cartoon hangover instagram

Collaborate with other brands

Rather than produce their own merch and open up their own merch web store, Cartoon Hangover partners with sites like WeLoveFine and Threadless in order to produce and sell merchandise. Even further than that, since Cartoon Hangover is such a fan-driven community, they frequently host contests on WeLoveFine and Threadless so that fans can have their artwork turned into merchandise and win free stuff. Which leads me to my next point…

Embrace your fan community

One of the best parts about Cartoon Hangover is that it’s not just a bunch of cartoon series – it’s really a community. Cartoon Hangover is so in touch with their fans. They encourage fans to submit their fan artwork, share fan artwork on their various social media profiles, and for the series “Bravest Warriors” they even hold a Tumblr contest on Fridays called “Notes=Votes,” in which they publish fan art they’ve received, and the artist with the most likes and reblogs wins a free T-shirt.

notes equals votes

Besides welcoming and encouraging fan art, Cartoon Hangover also relies on fan feedback and suggestions for both the series themselves and for merchandise. For example, while creating the series “Bee and PuppyCat,” Cartoon Hangover asked fans to chime in on which version of PuppyCat they like best.

bee and puppycat

Another way that Cartoon Hangover gets fans involved is with the series “Hungover with Cade.” Every episode Cade asks a question and asks fans to call in and leave a voicemail with their answer to be featured in the next week’s video.

Show what goes on behind the scenes

In addition to standalone videos of voice actors in the studio and interviews with animators, Cartoon Hangover also features the series “Hungover with Cade” to give fans the scoop on everything going on at Cartoon Hangover. According to the Youtube channel, “Hungover with Cade is the bi-weekly show that shows you what it’s like to work at Cartoon Hangover, while delivering the latest news, fan-feedback and exclusives. Also featuring fan-powered comments, voicemails, fan art and videos.” Just take a look for yourself!

Besides behind the scenes videos, Cartoon Hangover also uses social media to keep fans in the loop. They use Tumblr and Facebook to post concept art, sketches, and works in progress, which is an awesome way to let fans see all of the work that goes into bringing their favorite series to life! Letting fans see the artwork in progress fuels the fire to get them more excited for new videos. Here’s some concept art that Cartoon Hangover posted on Facebook for the upcoming series, “Rocket Dog.”


Celebrate and promote your creative artists

One of the major factors that separate Cartoon Hangover from cartoons on TV is the special promotion of the creative minds behind the cartoons. Since everything about Cartoon Hangover is online, it’s easier than ever to get fans curious and interested in the artists behind the cartoons. Through social media and behind-the-scenes videos Cartoon Hangover is able to draw attention to and celebrate the efforts of every artist and animator. Cartoon Hangover’s love and support for their artists encourages fans to rally behind the artists as well.

Welcome new ideas

The reason Cartoon Hangover is able to stay fresh and keep pushing the envelope is because they are always welcoming  new ideas. Cartoon Hangover makes it super easy for anyone – not just artists – to pitch ideas. Animators are encouraged to pitch brief storyboards, and even non-artists are welcome to pitch ideas.

cartoon hangover wants you

According to the Cartoon Hangover Pitch FAQs, “We pride ourselves in being open to new voices and ideas. Over 90% of the shorts we produce are from creators we’ve never worked with before.” Bringing new ideas and voices into any project is the best way to keep things fresh and innovative.

Make high quality content!

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important tip by far. Somehow brands have gotten it into their minds that creating videos that are “random” or “crazy,” is the only thing necessary to go viral. I’m here to give it to you straight – you can’t go viral on purpose. As you can see, their end goal isn’t to go viral, they just want to deliver awesome content to their fans. They’ve got the best of the best animators, writers, and voice actors and fill every second of every 5 minute video with kick-butt content. You can should must do the same!

You didn’t think I would make it all the way through this blog post without showing you some cartoons, did you? Check out “The Best of Catbug” – a compilation of the adorable Catbug from “Bravest Warriors,” the Cartoon Hangover series created by Pendleton Ward, the creator of “Adventure Time.”

What do you think? Any more tips you think we can learn from Cartoon Hangover? Which of these tips is most valuable to you? Sound off in the comments below and let’s talk about cartoons! 

Expand Your Brand!

Photos courtesy of the Cartoon Hangover Facebook Page and

Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+.

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