Hands up if you’ve ever seen a commercial or advertisement for a film!
Yep, movie marketing campaigns are some of the most attention-grabbing pieces of marketing out there, and there are ones aimed at just about every single person out there.
With so much going on, these days movie makers have almost always got to do more than just put out an incredible trailer that leaves viewers desperate for more. (Although that always helps). You may be surprised at just how wide-reaching these amazing movie marketing campaigns are.
From the producers of some of the best-printed T-shirts around (if we do say so ourselves), we bring you…
Blair Witch Project
This is the granddaddy of today’s movie advertising strategies. Known to some as the best viral marketing campaign of all times, it is basic by today’s standards, but at the time it was truly revolutionary. It was 1999 after all, the internet was just getting started and marketers weren’t really worried about “going viral”.
A year before releasing the film, the production company made a website that told the story of the legend starting from 1785. They say that the families of the missing had asked the production company to make a movie about the story for them. There are police photos, footage of news coverage, interviews with the family members and even parts of a journal from one of the three filmmakers. If you tried to look up the main actors on the IMDB pages, they showed up as “missing, presumed dead.” The team passed out missing person posters, too.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s outrageous character Borat was originally presented as a real, actual character, and the film played off of this. He was already pretty well known in the UK, but stateside he was nearly completely unknown. He appeared on late night shows and did interviews in character, doing a pointed job of skewering American culture, often to bewilderment. Most people didn’t know what to make of this very friendly but entirely clueless foreign journalist. Even when the outrageous film came out, a lot of people were still wondering what was real and what wasn’t, so much so that Salon actually published an article separating truth from fact.
The Dark Knight
This installation of the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman series started its advertising campaign over a year before the film actually came out. The first step was a fake campaign for the politician Harvey Dent that was centred around a very clever website. They also ran scavenger hunts in different cities, created and distributed a fictional newspaper called The Gotham Times and even created cakes with cellphones baked into them that fans could later use to ring up the Joker. They also left Joker playing cards with “HA HA” in comic book stores. They also threw in a handful of more traditional movie marketing campaign tactics, like gripping teasers and trailers and eye-catching posters. The results? 11 million people participated and spent $1 billion in ticket sales across the world, meaning there were a massive number of people in theatres on opening night. And a couple of awards for the campaign, including the Cannes Lions Cyber Grand Prix Award and the Silver Cyber Award.
Note: You might also be interested in reading’9 of the best video game marketing campaigns ever.’
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