PHD Germany walked away with its first Effie award this week for work for on the Unknown User (Unfriended) launch for Universal Pictures.

As a small budget film being released in the summer to tough competition from Fifty Shades of Grey, Fast & Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2, Jurassic World, Ted 2 and Minions, PHD had a small budget that needed to make a big impact.

Taking the brave step to invest 90% of the budget into digital channels, PHD began seeding the trailer with the core horror-audience target three months prior to release via Facebook and YouTube. Via shares and interactions, the trailer reached a far broader audience than initially expected and using these insights, PHD decided to optimise strategy by widening the target audience for the next phase of the campaign.

In a move to garner memorability, PHD invited five of the most popular YouTube stars in Germany to recreate the movie as a shortened 10-minute version, conveying the same horror and thrill. The video was viewed 3,277,135 times, received 212,000 thumbs-up and 13,000 comments. Additionally, the campaign was shared on the Instagram accounts of the individual YouTube stars, achieving 275,000 likes and 4,000 comments. The video even reached #4 in the most popular videos on YouTube in Germany.

195,000 film-goers on the release-weekend generating a turnover of €1,637,000 surpassing all expectations and also the production cost of $1,000,000 in the German market alone.

By the end of summer “Unknown User” piled up to 700,000 film-goers and a turnover of €5,490,000, which exceeded overall expectations by 400%. These results promote “Unknown User” to the most successful horror-movie in Germany since 2012.

You can see the full winning list of the German Effies here.