Creative innovation in film marketing is almost as old as the movies themselves. Merchandising and promotional roadshows were commonplace right back to the 1930s. When MGM released Anna Christie starring Greta Garbo in her first sound film in 1930, the entire marketing campaign at the time was based on the proclamation that ‘Garbo talks!’ Anna Christie went on to become the highest grossing film of the year.
Fast forward 80 years, and film marketing by and large hasn’t changed that much beyond the standard poster, trailer, lead-actors-in-interview format. But every so often, studios decide to get creative with promoting their product, employing everything from guerrilla tactics to, frankly nuts PR stunts.
Sometimes the campaigns were better than the films they were promoting, and went on to win Lions. Here are five examples to show you how creative the movie business can be:
The Smurf Village by Bungalow25Circus
Quite how thrilled the residents of Júzcar in Spain actually were when their town was painted bright blue to promote The Smurfs 3D Movie, we shall never know. Apparently they beat 300 other Spanish villages who were in competition for the privilege.
Batman V Superman by CP+B
This one is less of a film marketing campaign, and more of a brand partnership. But if you ever wanted to step into the comic book worlds of Gotham City or Metropolis for yourself, then this campaign from Turkish Airlines made your dreams come true.
Prometheus Integrated Campaign by Ignition Creative
Clever use of TED Talks caught the attention of the Branded Content and Entertainment jury in 2013, including screening a TED Talk from the future at the 2012 conference.
Why So Serious by 42 Entertainment
The late Jay Conrad Levinson wrote a fantastic book about guerrilla marketing in 1983. It was updated numerous times, and in 2007 he devotes a large chapter to this campaign which employed practically every channel going. Before augmented reality, there was alternate reality… and this is a Grand Prix-winning example.
Zoolander Returns to the Runway by Catalyst Public Relations
Fashion, comedy, fiction and reality blurred in this topical stunt featuring Derek and Hansel from Zoolander 2, which took place at Paris Fashion Week. Armed with ‘Blue Steel’, the pair set the media landscape alight.