Hollywood films that were promoted innovatively on social media
From creating websites to LinkedIn profiles, we take a look at a few films that tried lending a real feel to the fictional characters by adopting innovative promotional strategies
Today, marketing a film well is as important as its content. Needless to say, producers are going all out, at times surpassing the usual trends of promotions to increase audience participation and generate curiosity around the film. As a result, the makers have been able to blur the line between fiction and reality in a few cases. For instance, the fourth instalment of Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World, is ready for release and promises to be an adventurous ride.
A screen shot of Jurassic World’s promotional website. The film has Irrfan playing Simon Masrani, the park owner
In the film, Bollywood actor Irrfan will be seen stepping into the shoes of John Hammond and will essay the role of the new park owner, Simon Masrani. As part of the promotions, the makers have launched a website that establishes Masrani’s presence in the corporate world. The website takes the viewers on a ride of the Jurassic World — its history, landscape and future — and tells them about Masrani’s journey and his association with Jurassic World. We take a look at a few such instances when the makers went all out to promote a film.
The producers of Cloverfield began promotions by creating an initial teaser that would give away the release date of the film, but not the title.
A still from the film
This trailer, however, ended with a link to a website to encourage audience participation.
The initial teaser without the title
MySpace pages were created for the characters as well as the fictional companies that were important to the film’s plot. The strategy of audience involvement helped the film rake in around $170 million at the box office.
50 Shades of Grey (2015)
The whirlwind affair between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in EL James’s much talked about book generated curiosity and hype around the eponymous movie.
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in 50 Shades of Grey.
Needless to say, Jamie Dornan’s portrayal of the young billionaire with BDSM fetish and Dakota Johnson as the vulnerable college graduate helped the film rake in over $500 million at the box office.
A screen grab from the promotional website
To promote the film, the makers created a website which gave a view of Grey’s office and its goals. Hilariously enough, it has references to the romance between Grey and Steele.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The film’s promotional campaign went viral when the producers began a marketing campaign by launching a website featuring the fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent with the caption: “I Believe in Harvey Dent”.
The makers also made another version of the campaign where posters saying “I Believe in Harvey Dent too” could be e-mailed and on receiving the mail, the poster would change slowly to reveal the face of the joker.
Poster of the fictional ‘I believe in Harvey Dent’ campaign
That would then replaced by the text: ‘See you in December’. Other promotional tactics included a scavenger hunt, voting for Harvey Dent at public places and creation of a fictional newspaper, The Gotham Times.
Eager to exploit the internet’s strength, the makers of the film began promoting Peter Weyland’s character with a video that spoke about his vision for the future.
A still from Prometheus
Set in 2023, the video presents a futuristic vision of a TED conference, an annual technology and design event held in Long Beach, California (TED began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, and eventually went on to cover topics ranging from science to business and global issues).
A poster promotiong the fictional website
The video release was accompanied by a fictional TED blog about the 2023 conference and a tie-in website for the fictional Weyland Corporation. The Weyland website was later updated to allow visitors to invest in the company as part of a game, which would reveal new Prometheus media.
The 2014 thriller had Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) hit the streets of Los Angeles in search of crime videos that he can sell to TV newscasts.
Jake Gyllenhal in Nightcrawler
With support of a news editor, this fast learner with an eye for detail works his way up the ladder and the film ends with Bloom investing in two vans and hiring interns to expand his own business.
The grab from the fictional LinkedIn profile
To market the film, the makers began by posting a video resume on YouTube titled ‘Hard worker seeking employment’ and followed that up with a LinkedIn profile that listed Bloom as CEO at Video News Production. If that wasn’t all, he was endorsed by contemporaries for skills including management, strategic planning and marketing strategy.