Movie marketing in the online world might seem a bit of a tangent for a company that specialises in sport, but we’re interested in what’s good in digital media – whatever the sector. We have some background in film as I worked at the BFI for 18 months, but this post comes from researcher Amy Jones who spotted The Grumblr and couldn’t let it go without digging further. RA. >>
Movie promotion has changed in recent years, to the point where promotional posters are having to be adapted to make sure that they’ve viewable on a mobile device. Increased use of the internet, especially on mobile devices, means that there are a thousand new ways to reach a potential audience, and some movie marketers are exploiting this to their full advantage.
Some, like the people behind 184.108.40.206 and Star Trek Into Darkness are using social media to create buzz around their film. Others are using the internet to target specific groups of people online — such as in the run up to the release of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo when fans of the novels were hit with targeted ads and a specific campaign that tapped into their love for the books. Others, however, aren’t being quite so obvious. They’re taking digital marketing and having a little fun with it, creating some very cool things in the process.
The Grumblr is a Tumblr supposedly written by a Monsters University student. It includes memes, heavily filtered square photos of campus life, chats about essays, GIFs, hashtags, all the things you’d usually find on the social media of a 17-25 year old. Except it’s all to do with monsters.
It’s brilliant, showing the tone and a few snippets from the movie without being blatantly promotional. Plus it links to the website for Monsters University, which is so similar a real academic website it’s almost painful. Apart from the bit where they sell four-armed hoodies in the store, obviously.
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were the final two films in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Batman has such a huge existing fanbase that marketers could have gotten away with the old posters-and-interviews technique. Instead they took the huge, rich world of Batman and made something quite brilliant with it.
Let’s start in reverse. When the website for The Dark Knight Rises was launched, it was just a black webpage with a recording of men chanting underneath it. However, when the chanting was analysed with a spectrograph a hidden message was revealed — #thefirerises. If you tweeted that hashtag then you’d get a reply from @TheFireRises, who’d link you to another webpage where you could put in your Twitter account and your profile pic would be added to a larger mosaic that formed the first clear photo of Bane.
Even though the photo was unveiled by clever-clogs Batman fans way before the mosaic was completed, it was a cool idea — and it was followed up with a huge website that let fans peek into the Batman world.
But it was nothing compared to the campaign for The Dark Knight. I left it ’til last because it’s quite astonishing, involving treasure hunts that blend the online and offline worlds, over 31 websites, mobile phones with exclusive content hidden in the middle of cakes, an online newspaper, …it’s no surprise that it had over 10 million unique participants in 75 countries. It was a huge, mind-blowing campaign, but this video explains it all very neatly.
There are so many other sterling examples I could talk about, such as Super 8‘s online treasure hunt and the Monsters Foursquare campaign that I wish someone would look at and expand upon, but the point is clear. There are a hundred different platforms to reach audiences on nowadays, and thousands of different ways of using them. You can use digital to create a world that will extend the film experience beyond the two hours someone sits in a cinema, and create some really nifty things whilst doing so.