In the last couple of weeks we've seen some excellent examples of event-driven video marketing coming out of Hollywood, with two much-anticipated superhero-filled film trailers released to coincide with Comic Con 2015, the world's leading celebration of comic book pop culture. Both movie teasers have taken the Internet by storm and created an enormous buzz for Warner Brothers Pictures.
Comic Con + Film Trailers = Video Marketing Wins!
The folks over at Warner Bros. Pictures were smart. Really smart. They put together compelling trailers for both 'Suicide Squad: Comic Con First Look' and 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Comic Con Trailer' and then premiered both at - you've guessed it - Comic Con San Diego 2015. Teasers from either film were always going to be popular, but to release event-driven content like this bang in the middle of Comic Con, covered by hundreds of online (and offline) publications, gives the movie studio pretty much the perfect storm in terms of capturing as much attention as possible. The trailers have generated (without too much/any YouTube paid promotion as far as I can tell) a combined 73 million views in 9 days on the video platform.
There has undoubtedly been huge marketing resources poured behind both trailers, but they haven't necessarily been placed behind a pre-roll to every video on the internet. Instead, awareness of the teasers came through outreach, social media, and general fan buzz. I first became aware of the teaser for 'Suicide Squad' via a Reddit post, where it had been billed as the first look at Jared Leto’s Joker. I’d certainly say they crafted it to generate that conversation, as the trailer ends with a brief reveal of the Joker. It’s just enough to get you interested and leave you hanging on until the end of the trailer. Take a look yourself:
The 'Suicide Squad' trailer, which has generated 34.7 million views on YouTube, does a great job at leveraging the same audience interested in Batman v Superman. The 'Dawn of Justice' trailer also went viral, with 35.6 million YouTube views in 10 days. Warner Brothers has demonstrated that if you can carefully target your fans around a tent pole event, they’ll do the promotional work for you.
We ran both teasers through Tubular's Video Intelligence tool to see which one scored most highly in terms of upload views (based on the main trailers, and secondary content such as the various clips of the 'Batman vs Superman' panel at Comic Con, and trailers uploaded by channels such as movieclipsTrailers, plus reaction and review videos, and the trailer, and secondary user-generated content, for 'Suicide Squad', scored higher in terms of overall views on YouTube. It also fared better in terms of engagements, i.e. likes, shares, comments etc:
'Trainwreck': YouTube is Now Part of the Chat Show Circuit
In contrast to the event-driven strategy carried out by Warner Bros, the marketing team behind the movie 'Trainwreck' are doing what appears to be a modern version of the talk show circuit. Rather than drawing on the goodwill of an established fan-base like Warner were able to do, the stars of this movie, Bill Hader and Amy Schumer, are making guest appearances on various YouTube channels. I've seen them pop up in my YouTube sub box no less than 3 times this week. This strategy makes sense for them because they really have no built-in audience like an existing franchise. Instead they are trying to target the audience they want and get in front of them as much as possible.
I’ve seen them team up with Rhett and Link, Flula and the Fine Bros this week. They’ve even got their own spoof going on Funny or Die where they appear and talk about making a sequel. They also went the route of buying ad space on these videos. Each time I watched these videos and got a pre-roll, it was of the movie they were promoting. We’ll see this weekend if it’s all been worthwhile.
The easier path here is certainly the tent pole one. But that’s mainly because of the built-in audience that the comic book characters bring with them. On the other hand, making the marketing rounds can be done at any time and relying on the right tent pole event can be restrictive. Trainwreck’s trailer, posted to Facebook back in February, is sitting at around 30 million views.
I expect all three movies will perform well at the box office for different reasons, but the run up to the release of each one will be a fascinating time for fans of film marketing.