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Viral marketing has been effective with several different types of marketing campaigns. “Breaking Bad” is my favorite television show of all time; I was hooked on the show since season one. Therefore, it was exciting to me when the show’s network, AMC, came up with a potent digital marketing formula to promote the show’s final season. It promoted brand awareness while encouraging loyalty and fan engagement. It also incorporated several characteristics of a successful viral marketing campaign including videos, humor, interactivity, social commenting, and social media optimization.

The network combined a variety of techniques to hype up frenzied fans by engaging with them in several creative ways. Fans produced several parodies and tribute videos such as these:

As you can see, humor was also incorporated into some of the videos. A clever app encouraged Breaking Bad addicts to answer questions, share pictures, and quotes from the show through the #bbaddict hashtag. With such a loyal following, the show inspired a lot of quality graphic design and fan art. AMC embraced it as part of their marketing campaign by setting up a Tumblr to promote it while encouraging social commenting. This also encouraged interactivity among fans. A tell-tale sign of a campaign going viral is the number of memes and gifs present on the web.

There are over 26 million Breaking Bad gifs on the internet.

There are over 26 million Breaking Bad gifs on the internet.

Breaking Bad has over 26 million gifs and 13 million memes dedicated to it (Sellars, 2013.) The viral and fan created content came in every variation on the internet as it also came by way of infographics, character accounts for social media pages, blogs, and microsites created by AMC all helped promote the show while creating a large community for the fans to share their love for the show.

The Clothing on Breaking Bad Is a Clue to Understanding the Characters

The Clothing on Breaking Bad Is a Clue to Understanding the Characters as shown in this infographic 

Breaking Bad’s success has led to a spin-off series called “Better Call Saul.” Fans of the Saul Goodman character will be pleased to know that AMC has already began marketing the prequel, with a real billboard in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Robinson, 2014.) If you use the number listed, you can actually call Saul too. It will be interesting to see what other methods of viral marketing AMC will use for the new series.

A billboard that can currently be seen in Albuquerque, NM.

A billboard that can currently be seen in Albuquerque, NM.

Since it’s been a while since my last blog post, you may be wondering if a trailer will be featured at the end of  the post. Well, there is still a trailer attached to each post. This one looks like another promising film with a moving story heavily focused on music. As a parent, it looks like they’re may be some sad, touching scenes. However, as a Shameless fan, I’m anticipating some crude humor courtesy of first time director William H. Macy. It could also potentially be another music centric film starring Billy Crudup, akin to Almost Famous. Below is a trailer for the upcoming film entitled “Rudderless.”

Sources

Robinson, J. (2014, July 23). You can actually call saul in the new better call saul marketing campaign. Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/better-call-saul-real-life-billboard

Sellars, J. (2013, August 12). The ‘breaking bad’ digital marketing formula. Retrieved from http://www.returnondigital.com/blog/the-breaking-bad-digital-marketing-formula

Promoting films through social media can be precarious. The social media marketing campaign can almost make or break a film prior to its release. While it’s more of a precursor of things to come, as social media was in its infancy, the film that comes to mind when thinking of the power of the internet is “Snakes on a Plane.” The film had a straight-forward title which also told the storyline and served as a logline. It became big news on the internet as message boards hastily went up and creativity ensued creating a cult following months before the Samuel L. Jackson film was released. Fans created a wide array of humorous art and memes, which included parodies and lines (clean version) fans anticipated would be in the film’s script. All of this attention caused mainstream media to take notice, as The New York Times covered the story, and “Snakes on a Plane” shifted the way Hollywood films were marketed to audiences. The film didn’t quite live up to the hype, as people expected it to be a big blockbuster and it grossed $62 million worldwide. Now, it’s looked at by some as a warning to remember to not let internet buzz massively influence a film prior to its release and letting that buzz about the film reach its apex too soon.

One of the many pieces of "Snakes on a Plane" fan art.

One of the many pieces of “Snakes on a Plane” fan art.

Social-networking has changed since “Snakes on a Plane,” and so, too, has the way studios market their films using social-networking. For example, the marketing team of Universal Pictures got extremely creative with its “Despicable Me 2OOH campaign. It employed digital screens throughout shopping malls that invited consumers to control and personalize the on-screen advertisement using their smart phones.  The interactive campaign covered the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Norway. It starred the Minions and was conceived by Clear Channel and powered by an app built by Grand Visual. The engaging interaction took place when consumers sent texts with commands and their names, then watched as the Minions acted out the instructions. Users were then sent a text which allowed them to share their personalized film via social media. An online version which could be shared on social media was also supported throughout the campaign.

As the first “Despicable Me” film was a huge hit, most mainstream movie audiences were probably aware of the sequel leading up to its release. However, more social media apps are popping up that are intended to turn film fans on to new film options. They also stimulate fans into going to theaters. One such app is TrailerPop, which is a unique discovery service that uses film trailers in a trivia game. It is fun to play, but also engages fans and highlights trailers which are perfect hybrids that entertain consumers and advertise films for studios. Film fans with higher scores are usually highly engaged, but what is especially powerful about TrailerPop is the social aspect as friends can challenge each other in multi-player mode.

TrailerPop

Awareness of new films will still be created in the traditional ways – there will continue to be teasers and trailers attached to feature films at theaters, as well as TV/billboard advertising. However, social media campaigns and mobile apps are honing in on the personal interests of consumers, putting them in context, and changing the way films are marketed.

The OOH Campaign of “Despicable Me 2” was cleverly executed and truly showed the potential multimedia campaigns have. It showed the impact mobile apps can have on a marketing campaign and while taking place in a common place while being different and innovative. Universal and their marketing partners set the campaign apart from the other films being marketed at the time. While the majority of film fans probably enjoy watching trailers, TrailerPop created a new approach for film marketing that keeps fans involved while allowing them to learn about new films. Both companies differentiated themselves in different, strategic ways.

This week’s trailer is for a quirky looking film called “Frank.” It stars Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal and tells the story of an enigmatic band leader who gets the opportunity to play the heralded South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.  It looks promising for both film and music lovers.

Sources

BoxOfficeMojo. (2014). Snakes on a plane gross. Retrieved from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=snakesonaplane.htm

Walker, R. (2006, November 12). A turn of phrase. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/12/magazine/12wwln_consumed.html?_r=0

West, G. (2013, June 18). Universal pictures promotes despicable me 2 with pan-european interactive ooh campaign featuring the minions. Retrieved from http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/06/18/universal-pictures-promotes-despicable-me-2-pan-european-interactive-ooh-campaign