THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best film promotions
campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 16 December 2003 12:00AM
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Convincing 15- to 24-year-olds that a movie based on a kids' theme park was in any way cool was no mean feat. But with adspend just 18th in Nielsen Media Research's league of spend per feature (£1,633,967), Pirates became this year's second-biggest grossing flick. Advertising sought to make an original story with an unusual cast stand out after the summer's glut of big-money sequels. Fly-posters and six-sheets of the zany cast combined with TV spots showing a mix of fight sequences, special effects and amusing gems from the film.
Think Hulk, think big, green and uncontainable. To warn of the Marvel comic character's explosive rage, channels were chosen to show the Hulk bursting out of the boundaries of the medium. Towering seven foot above the height of a normal 96-sheet, the Hulk literally burst on to UK streets. Morphing technology showed Bruce Banner turn from man to beast at bus shelters, The Sun's website was turned from red to green and an interactive TV campaign encouraged viewers to press the green button to win premiere tickets. Nice campaign. Awful film.
3. American Pie: The Wedding
The mega-popularity of the American Pie series inspired UIP to position the final chapter as a genuine wedding invitation. All were invited to an American Pie stag and hen party in London promoted via a cross-media partnership with Emap. Fans were driven to a microsite via e-mails, Kiss FM and advertorial in FHM, More, Kerrang! and Sneak, where tickets could be won by playing the American Pie Wedding Game. Emap's brands exposed UIP to 5.5 million 16- to 24-year-olds.
4. Jackass: The Movie
To get young men to watch a film based on absurd stunts and "gross-out" antics, UIP focused on the cult TV show's reliance on shared humour. Viral e-mails offering sneak previews, Sky's Pub TV channel and magazines with a high pass-on readership (such as Bizarre) were selected to exploit the pack mentality of 17- to 22-year-old men. Jackass-branded plastic turds were placed in urinals and sinks and the Daily Star, recognised as the young man's preferred toilet read, carried an ad that looked as if it had been vomited on.
5. Calendar Girls
Women over 30 are a weak cinema-going demographic, so they had to be reached well in advance of this film's release to make use of their penchant for gossip to build awareness. Popular women's reads such as the Daily Mail were chosen as media partners and screenings for readers helped generate buzz and "talkability". Such was the hype surrounding the true story of the women who bare all, the box office opening became a publicity angle in itself. The film, in the year's top ten, made £17.2 million.
6. The Matrix: Reloaded
How to advertise a sequel to a film so successful more DVDs were sold than there were DVD players? Fuel the hype, but keep the hardcore happy. A dedicated website drip-fed hints and gossip to sustain interest with Matrix devotees up until release. Inner-city outdoor sites carrying giant character shots, perfect to match the urban cool of Neo and co, were the focus to reach the masses. Bus sides and lenticular billboards on the Underground were impossible to miss, helping it become the biggest-grossing of the year.
Client: Warner Brothers
7. The Italian Job
UIP ruffled the feathers of a BBC cameraman at the England versus Turkey match in October by "driving" the famous trio of Minis from The Italian Job round the LED perimeter boards. The ads were distracting, he complained, clearly missing the point. Positioning the film as accessible yet cool, the film was linked to football with press ads next to football sections and TV spots around key games. To tie in with the film's driving theme, spots were bought around the radio traffic report Trafficlink broadcast at rush hour.
8. X2: X-Men United
Before release, to whet appetites with new mutants with fantastical superpowers, 12- to 34-year-old men were teased with five-second "slash" TV ads. Then, to build event status for the release, 30-second "roadblocks" were bought across Channel 4, five and satellite channels. Eager to sustain momentum post-release and prevent The Matrix: Reloaded from trouncing it at the box office, Fox blitzed The Matrix Evening on five - scheduled two days before Reloaded's release - with X2 TV spots.
Client: Twentieth Century Fox
Agency: Starcom MediaVest
9. Kill Bill
One of most violent films ever pulled in £2.7 million in its opening weekend. Advertising for Tarantino's blood-splattered action epic played down potentially offensive content, focusing on humour and cool in TV spots and straight-but-glamorous posters of Uma Thurman in a yellow cat suit. Few who hadn't seen it pre-release were aware of the impending carnage. Growing the film was left to word-of-mouth from die-hard Tarantino fans who smashed the record for the opening three days at The Empire in Leicester Square.
10. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
According to consumer research, the Terminator is a cult brand. So how to launch a blockbuster without trampling on cult status which has had ten years to mature? Manning Gottlieb OMD called its strategy "exclusive ubiquity". Be everywhere, but be understated. Dark, grainy artwork was used in posters - never backlit - as well as bus sides, bus rears, flyposters, postcards and TV to let the world know the Terminator was back.
Client: Columbia Tristar
Agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk