Michelle Runch knows just how much power the internet and social media can have as a promotional tool. As the distribution landscape is constantly changing and evolving – digital content continues to play a more critical role. As a Digital Producer, Runch has worked on the project management and development of websites, social media, digital video, and gaming content. This means developing the overarching strategy for the look and feel of the website, curating content for the website, and working with key executives to plan and design the digital strategy. She designs digital campaign strategies that include video content, social media, and media partnerships.
As a leader in her industry in Canada, Runch has successfully worked with a variety of other industries as well. She helped to build the “Vintage Fine Wine and Spirits Auction” event and program guide, leading to a 30 per cent increase in sales, and created the fully digital, multi-channel campaign that contributed to a season two renewal of the Netflix Original Luna Petunia. She has collaborated with some of the world’s most recognized names, including Jay-Z when she managed the rapper’s Life + Times YouTube channel. In her role, she also seeks out partnerships with influencers, and content creators to amplify and extend campaign reach, which directly contributed to box office success for the 2017 film Power Rangers.
“I enjoy being a digital producer as it allows me the opportunity to test new content and pivot in real time. Being able to see what the interests and conversations that your audience is interested in in real time has a lot to do with the content that you create. It gives you the ability to customize content based on what the audience wants to see. For example, if we knew the yellow ranger content was performing very well, we could create incremental yellow ranger content that our fans would want to engage with,” she said.
One of Runch’s most successful online campaigns came back in 2017 when she developed, concepted, and produced Mighty Morphin Meower Rangers. The nine-part series across two key pulse points went viral in the first 24-hours with over two million views, and views continue to grow to in the 20s of millions. It was the most successful video ever on the Power Rangers YouTube channel at the time, and a book deal with Penguin launched September 2018.
“I was elated when the project went live and received over two million views in the first 24-hours. I was just thinking, ‘I am so happy that people think this is as funny as I do!,” said Runch.
The video series follows five felines with “cattitude” as they morph into Power Rangers and use their extraordinary abilities to defend their furry friends from evil. With the tagline “It’s Meowphin Time!!” the series honors the original content of Power Rangers while putting a unique and cute spin on the story. Runch loves that such a “bizarre idea” became so beloved for so many fans.
“Thinking that we were having executive meetings talking about cats in Power Rangers costumes still makes me laugh. Seeing it come to life and making it as successful as it has been really helped me to believe that there is truly no such thing as a bad idea. Even if it sounds totally out of the box, it just might work – you just have to have a strong plan to make it happen,” she said.
Runch had the idea for “Meower Rangers” brewing in the back of her mind for a couple of years, but bringing it to life was something she wasn’t sure would happen. However, when she had the opportunity to create something out of the box, the entire organization supported her brain child. She was told to create something that could go viral, something extremely difficult to do even as a seasoned professional like Runch. There is so much content, that creating a video or campaign that resonates with millions is no small feat. She knew she had to capitalize on internet trends and leverage what the core audience interests were. Everyone loves a good cat meme, which is where her idea began. The day she came up with the idea, she hummed a tune to the production company that she was working with, which was something along the lines of, “Go Go Meower Rangers” and they truly helped bring it to life. Selecting costumes, where they shot, and working on the scripts was then a joy from beginning to end for the producer.
“I loved working on this project because I was able to take a legacy brand that everyone knows and loves and turn it into something that resonated with millions of people across the globe,” said Runch.
Meower Rangers could never have been the success that it was and still is without Runch. Her work was essential to the success of the project as not only did she select an amazing production company to work with to help bring this to life, but she also worked to plan out how the content would be released in a big way. Breaking through the clutter of the internet is very difficult – you have to have your timing right, and partner with great media partners to bring your vision to life. Runch working with YouTube to curate content, Buzzfeed to develop a partnership and influencers to extend that reach was what made Meower Rangers successful.
“I think the big moment for me was when my dad told me that he found this content on the internet himself and asked who made it! That’s when I knew it was awesome! Seeing my friends in Canada share it across their profiles without knowing I worked on it, seeing the numbers of viewers increase by the millions day-over-day, having YouTube tweet about it on their official account – these are moments that you really hope for when you are in digital production and seeing them come true were some of the most memorable moments of my career,” she concluded.
Meower Rangers is a can’t miss. Watch the first episode here and find yourself addicted.