With 2019 here and already a steady list of movies to look out for, it would be a good time to reflect on some of the film marketing strategies we admired in 2018 that will trend big in 2019. Here are three trends that we see driving movie marketing next year:
1. Authenticity and Accessibility to Content Creators
No one used to pay attention to Jordan Peele, unless they were already a fan of his sketch comedy show. And then Peele wrote and directed one of the most successful movies of 2017, Get Out. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
Naturally, fans of Get Out (ie. everyone) have been eager for Peele’s next project. And Peele himself delivered a treat to his rabid fans: a few scraps of information. Capitalizing on his growing profile and harnessing the personal touch of social media, in mid-December he tweeted out the official poster art for his new project, Us. And the internet was soon a-buzzing.
Peele’s post generated hundreds of thousands of impressions and countless blog postings, with fans and media outlets alike offering up their theories about the film and attempting to glean any sort of additional information hidden within the poster art about the highly-anticipated March 2019 release. This was a small digital moment and with big impact from the creator himself. Shortly after, on Twitter, Peele teased out another big moment to come: the release of the official trailer on Christmas Day.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) December 25, 2018
And in 2019, we can expect more influencers like Peele to take the same, personal tactics; it’s low-cost, intrigue-inducing, and gets people talking. This grassroots promotional style allows fans to feel like they have a stake in the game, there’s a deeper connection because of the ability to engage with the actual creator, whether that’s with a retweet, a heart, or even a comment. This interaction makes fans feel seen, heard, and appreciated, and those warm fuzzies of validation get folks talking, spreading the word with a simple click.
2. Cross-brand Collaboration and Smart Partnerships
Wakanda or bust, 2018 was the year of Black Panther. By all accounts, the Black Panther film team did everything right: implemented a robust marketing campaign, touched upon a powerful cultural moment, and initiated a smart cross-brand partnership. Marvel Studios collaborated with Lexus, a partnership they announced at a star-studded, media-filled event at San Diego ComicCon.
In the movie, T’Challa cruises in a slick, sweet Lexus LC 500 luxury performance coupe, but the collab between the studio and car manufacturer didn’t end there. Lexus produced and aired a Superbowl commercial featuring scenes from the movie that showcased their car’s high-performing features and Marvel manufactured a graphic novel about the car.
It wasn’t all big brand names for the Black Panther team. They created Enter Wakanda, an immersive pop-up bar in DC. The temporary bar partnered with local artists, musicians, and mixologists, and showcased set pieces from the film. The ticketed pop-up was different every day, with the creative works on rotation. No two days were the same.
We expect big name cross-branding trends to continue well into 2019, especially with blockbuster releases like Avengers 4, Star Episode IX, and the live action Lion King on the horizon. We do anticipate that it won’t all be big-tv-commercial branding. We’ll see film marketers harness the power of digital too, like the Spotify Playlists specifically based on each member of the Loser Club, from the reboot of Stephen King’s IT.
3. VR and Experiential Marketing: Bigger and Better Together
We keep our eyes on SXSW and ComicCon every year, and you should too. These conferences draw massive tech and film geeks, it’s true, and they are known to attract ground-breaking, legendary immersive marketing events (and big industry announcements, see Trend Two). In 2019, we expect bigger and better experiential marketing with more VR engagement opportunities for attendees, especially at these two conferences.
Last year, Amazon Prime Video, wowed guests at ComicCon with the be-a-spy Jack Ryan experience. Using a blend of VR and a robust set design, participants could enjoy “the world’s first experimental first episode” by pretending to be Jack Ryan. The activation required attendees to don an Oculus headset as well as foot and hand sensors for the VR missions, all of which could be followed on Amazon Prime’s Twitch channel. After successful completion of the VR mission, guests were then transported to a recreated set, meant to mimic a Yemeni market.
Innovative pop-up experiences aren’t limited to the conference circuit; if you haven’t heard of the record-breaking Netflix movie Bird Box, we have to ask, where’ve you been hiding? For the Sandra Bullock-starred sensation, MC² designed a completely mobile pop-up experience promoting the film. One at a time, participants donned a blindfold, just like the characters must do in the film, entered a large bus, where they sat and waited in silence. As time passed and tension rose, air blew (breath, perhaps?) from an unknown source against the guest’s neck sufficiently creeping them out. Suddenly, mysterious figures banged on the side of the bus, desperate to enter, and the TVs began playing news broadcasts decrying the apocalypse and then violently shutting down. Best part of this heart-pounding Bird Box experience? The bus zipped from location to location. No need to deconstruct and reconstruct in order to move from one spot to another.
We’ve looked to the past to see what the future of successful film marketing looks like in the year to come. Now that the next year is almost upon us, we’re eager to see the big moments, especially from content creators, cross-branding collaborative opportunities, and, if 2018 is any indication as to how awesome and larger-than-life experiential campaigns, some mind-blowing VR/experiential experiences. Makes us wish that these sort of film marketing strategies had been around for the release of the Matrix, yeah?
Want to talk more about great examples of film marketing? The MC² Experiential Studio is ready for 2019, and we’re dedicated to innovation, through design, strategy, and production. Drop us a line today and let’s chat.