Promoting Blockbusters with High-Impact Content

22 July 2015

Hollywood blockbusters spend tens of millions of dollars on promoting their latest films, keen to make a profit on the works they have spent so much money on. The potentially highly lucrative sales of licensed merchandise require a film to be a success, too, so movie producers have a lot riding on getting people through the doors of the cinema.

Compelling trailers and advertising promotions in print, on billboards and on the sides of buses have traditionally been the mainstay of movie marketing but, in this age of social media and content, some films are breaking out of the mould and adding clever or viral aspects to their promotional activities.

Jurassic World

Jurassic World is the long awaited sequel to three previous Jurassic Park films. It was vital that this film appealed to youngsters, as well as older people nostalgic about the earlier movies, so the producers created a range of smart ways to promote it.

One of the most innovative aspects of Jurassic World’s marketing is its website. Rather than defaulting to showing the film trailer, the website is, instead, a promotional website for the theme park in the film. Visitors can explore a map of the park, find information about the different dinosaurs, and even read safety advice about meeting and feeding the prehistoric creatures.

The team behind Jurassic World’s marketing also did some stunts designed to attract attention and gain social media interest, such as leaving a Jurassic World crate with a “Danger! Predatory Livestock” sign outside Waterloo train station in London. A few days later, the crate was opened and raptors were revealed.

Ex Machina

Ex Machina is a film about a part-human, part-Android character called Ava. Ex Machina’s marketing team set up a fake Tinder profile for Ava and attendees at SXSW found themselves interacting with Ava, not knowing she was not real.

The Tinder bot was designed to ask certain questions, such as “Have you ever been in love?” and “What makes you human?”, before directing its potential beaux to an Instagram page that made the deception clear.

Doing this at SXSW was a smart move for the marketers of this film. Not only did it coincide with the US release date, it was also carried out at an event full of some of the most social media-savvy people on the planet! This is an audience that appreciates advanced use of technology and inventive marketing ideas so, while there was reported to be some annoyance at the bot, it also attracted a lot of tweets and attention, too.

Taken 3

A Hollywood blockbuster from last year, Taken 3, used social media to its advantage to create an intriguing publicity campaign. The film released a video in which Liam Neeson presents his violent activities as a euphemistic list of ‘skills’.

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The video then invites viewers to go to a LinkedIn page (that unfortunately no longer exists), with a series of tasks to complete. One of the people who took part would, in return, have Liam Neeson himself endorse them on LinkedIn.

This tempting offer resulted in over 100,000 people joining in with the Taken 3 promotion, boosting its social profile significantly.

(Image credit: weegeebored)