Enjoying a movie used to mean gossiping about the film with your friends, with a side of popcorn. Today, the movie experience is beyond any '80s Trekkie's dreams: Fans can now interact with, reenact and otherwise play an active role in their favorite films. Movie trailers and teaser videos uploaded on YouTube in 2013 have been watched a whopping 10 billion times—but fans are doing more than just watching. Movie studios have begun tapping into fans' passions, providing promotional content that lets fans play an active role in animated alternate endings or elaborate musical lip dubs. In this month's Creative Shortlist, we feature campaigns that show how movie marketers are creatively tapping into YouTube to drive fan fever—a lesson with implications for all marketers.
There was a time when being a fan of a particular movie meant heading to the theater on opening night, gossiping over behind-the-scenes rumors and maybe going as far as to pick up some mass-produced merchandise destined to sit in a closet awaiting a garage sale several years later.
In 2014, being a fan has become much more immediate and intense than even an '80s Trekkie could have imagined. Fans can engage with, discuss, remix, reenact and otherwise be a part of the blockbuster movie phenomena, where previously they had been only passive observers. And the hurdles to becoming this type of fanboy or fangirl are much lower, thanks to our constantly connected world.
Trailer and teaser videos uploaded to YouTube in 2013 were watched close to 10 billion times. At YouTube, we track the top trailers each season with our YouTube Trailers Leaderboard to determine which trailers fans are choosing to watch the most. And previews are just the tip of the iceberg. Fans now have deeper and more unique ways to express passion for their favorite stories, characters and filmmakers whether through real-life recreations of weaponry, elaborate musical lip dubs, animated alternate endings or even just people's reactions to films. Major feature film releases—particularly those tied to beloved franchises—are surrounded by crowd-sourced explosions of diverse creative expression from globally distributed fan bases.
And studios are taking notice. They recognize that fans can be powerful advocates for their marketing messages and can have much more influence than advertisements alone. This is something that all marketers can learn from, but film studios are already tapping into quite innovatively.
Here you'll find an assortment of film promotions that acknowledge, appeal to and, in many ways, draw directly from the passionate 21st-century fanboy/fangirl world on the web. From unique viral tactics used to promote horror films to the teams at Godzilla and Star Wars turning over their sets for YouTube creators to run amok, clever film promotion has become less about "breaking through the noise" and more about becoming a seamless part of it.
The campaigns we're featuring this month demonstrate the ways movie studios are using YouTube and the web to encourage engagement with their films:
#1 Godzilla at YTSLA
Your movie, Godzilla's set#2 Star Wars Cantina and May the Fourth
A digital Star Wars Day celebration#3 Lionsgate and Art, Copy, Code for The Hunger Games
A tour through the districts of The Hunger Games#4 The Hobbit Chrome experiment
An amazing and interactive journey through Middle-earth#5 Guardians of the Galaxy
An intergalactic getaway