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December 2000: Granny Klump Helps Build Desktop Branding

Eddie Murphy's "Granny Klump" character first scored big in the 1996 worldwide box office hit, "The Nutty Professor" from Universal Pictures. Granny Klump isn't your typical grandmother - sassy, in your face, in fact, downright gross at times.

But she has become one of the most widely recognized and popular characters that Murphy played in the original movie, and he reprised her again in the sequel, "The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps."

The Internet has now become an indispensable tool to the movie industry, which is now using innovative technologies to bring, what Granny Klump might say, those butts into movie theaters nationwide and overseas.

To help introduce Granny Klump and the rest of the Eddie Murphy characters to the Internet generation, Universal Pictures teamed up with AdTools, Inc., a New York City-based desktop marketing firm, and launched a unique viral marketing campaign. AdTools uses proprietary Web-enabled desktop software technology called ScreenMates™, to develop online marketing campaigns. The company is a subsidiary of Indimi (Internet Direct Marketing Intelligence), also based in New York.

"The ScreenMates format and technology are ideal for creating an innovative film marketing component," said Mark Wachen, Indimi's CEO. "It enabled Universal Pictures to do branding in a different medium - the desktop. Desktop branding is where you get the most bang for your buck. You can't get lost and it doesn't have the distractions you may find on the Web."

Via ScreenMates, Granny Klump could be downloaded to dance onto the desktop of users. She could also be e-mailed to friends. The animated character was accessible by first logging onto AdTools' Web site (

Once on the desktop, Granny Klump literally "lived" there. She would walk across the bottom of a desktop, positioned just above the navigational task bar. Granny Klump was anything if entertaining - she might burp, pass gas, pull out her teeth and juggle them over her head, utter risqué comments, and more.

"You couldn't help but notice her," Wachen said. "Having a live animated character on the desktop was not only a source of fun and entertainment, but offered a highly viral form of marketing through its pass-along potential."

According to Kevin Campbell, Universal Pictures' Vice President-New Media Marketing, the campaign achieved a number of goals.

"It helped reintroduce the Klumps to a new audience and extended the Nutty Professor brand from the Internet to the desktop," Campbell said.

In fact, Campbell said the pass-along rate was a whopping 23 percent. Direct mail campaigns are considered successful with a two percent return; banner ads generate a clickthrough rate between two and five percent.

Campbell added that the Granny Klump character was downloaded 1.2 million times. By right clicking on the character, viewers could link to the Nutty Professor Web site and obtain more information about the film. Another a link to AOL/Moviefone allowed viewers to purchase tickets online.

Universal Pictures also lined up a number of promotional partners that allowed viewers to download Granny Klump. These included AOL, AOL/Moviefone, CompuServe,,, and

"Granny Klump was an important part of our overall marketing mix that helped consumers connect the dots," Campbell said. "We e-mailed the character to our entire database. It provided us with an effective way to leverage our relationships."

Although Campbell said there was no way to quantify how many movie tickets the desktop marketing campaign sold, "it helped the movie become a part of the cultural 'Zeitgeist.' It created a buzz and engaged Internet users - the download rate alone proves that. Chances are, if someone is interested enough to do that, he or she will buy a ticket and see the movie."

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