Top Social Cinema Marketing Campaigns of 2013
As 2013 draws to a close, the big question looming over the film marketing landscape is not “will Anchorman 2 will be a success?” (it will), but instead: “how big of a success will it be? And to what degree is that success attributable to the social marketing efforts of Paramount?”
According to The Verge, “The unprecedented social media push for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues could provide a new template for movie marketing, Adweek reports. To promote the film, star Will Ferrell is appearing as Ron Burgundy in truck commercials, Huffington Post op-eds, online games, and a seemingly endless series of viral videos designed to court global audiences…The linchpin of the entire operation has been Tumblr, where GIFs are helping the movie to get widespread viral promotion.”
2013 was a year of social cinema marketing experimentation, during which social sharing was huge, trailers were smarter than ever, and multimedia integration got craftier. Arguably, viral movie marketing began with The Blair Witch Project and has come a long way since. Below we take a look at some of the year’s best efforts:
- Gravity: Trailers became smarter this year. One need look no further than the compelling Gravity trailers, which drove excited audiences into the theaters during the film’s record-breaking opening weekend. It earned an October-record $55.6 million. The now famous Gravity Detached trailer, which is roughly a minute long, is an incredibly dramatic single shot of getting lost in space, torn from the social fabric. Drifting, the second released trailer, is equally as engaging and terrifying in its lonely weightlessness. Both viral trailers were made to be consumed in bite-sized, easily digestible media chunks and, of course, to be communicated across the social media ecosystem. In a sense, a trailer is now a failure (at least to a degree) in this new social era if it fails to go viral. Its goal should at least be shareability.
- Epic: One of the more innovative semi-viral campaigns this year came from the 3D computer animation film Epic. Epic’s trailers had the film’s voiceover stars talking about their respective roles in the movie. It was a “breaking-down-the-third-wall” moment that appealed to the parents — the ones who actually make the ticket-buying decisions. Rohit Barghawa called it one of the most authentic movie marketing campaigns ever.
- Carrie: The Carrie prank trailer owned Halloween. Twenty-one million views later, the video, which involved an allegedly telekinetic woman having conniptions, making furniture move (all including the priceless audience reactions), is perhaps the most memorable and fun social cinema campaign of the year. The creators get horror audiences. A horror film, at its best, is the perfect date movie: it makes you reach out for the person next to you, it takes you to extreme emotions, and then makes you laugh at yourself. This prank viral trailer mixed humor and a touch of terror and was, quite frankly, brilliant.
- Spring Breakers: For a small film in limited release, Spring Breakers‘ social push was geared toward teens and young adults on Facebook and Twitter. It led to hundreds of thousands of Facebook likes and thousands more Tweets on opening night. It experienced a two-to-one tweet ratio in favor of a positive experience. It was a hit, and with a $5 million budget, the film grossed $31 million, making it one of the most profitable films of the year. Well marketed on Facebook and Twitter, showcasing a knowledge of its audience’s social media locations, habits, and interests. Well-played, Annapurna Pictures.
- Misc: Other brilliant viral trailers that deserve some quick mention: James Franco’s “bunker video” for This Is The End. Man of Steel, which met some critical resistance, had an incredible third trailer, and did just fine at the box office. Also, I cannot fail to mention World War Z, which went against all marketing logic and downplayed the zombie aspect of the story in its trailers, still going on to become a tremendous hit (World War Z 2 discussions are already happening).
- So, what’s next for 2014? The Lego Movie, which is not out until February, has been a social cinema success already. The Amazing Spider Man 2, which will be out in April, has been impressive with its use of Tumblr. For years, I’ve wondered when a social campaign would incorporate a daily blog to emulate a local newspaper in building up anticipation for a film. Enter: The Daily Bugle. This idea is so brilliant because The Daily Bugle is organic and integral to the entire Spiderman storyline: Peter Parker works for the Bugle and the Bugle’s coverage of Spiderman is a major storyline in the comic book. (And I’ll admit it: I’m a huge Marvel comics geek.) And there’s bound to be even further developments in social video. How will Vine and Instagram video be used in future social cinema campaigns?
Until 2014…Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
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