While the new movie “Minions” was not the most critically acclaimed movie so far in 2015, it has a good chance of being the biggest box office hit. In its first weekend, it pulled in a reported $115.2 million in North America alone, making it the second-largest opening for an animated film in history. The early success of the movie can be attributed in large part to a huge marketing push by Universal Pictures.
Since December, minions have become part of our everyday lives. From buying a $4.4 million Super Bowl ad, sending yellow, minion-themed Amazon delivery boxes and taking over movie theaters with life-sized minions for months, to slapping minions on Chiquita bananas, and invading SnapChat and the Discovery Channel’s ever-popular “Shark Week” in the weeks before its debut, Universal Pictures set a new standard for movie marketing.
Beyond the sheer scale of the effort, Universal’s success can be directly related to their ability to understand, and respond to, marketing signals. Signals that compose a complex new narrative of audience interactions happening across all of the campaigns and channels they use for activation – both historical and in-flight. While not all marketers will have a $500 million-plus budget, we can all use a similar model.
The question is, how do we harness the signals to quickly discover and invest in the best tactics to deliver on our desired objectives? In the case of Universal it was about tapping into the share-ability of the minion characters and connecting them with an audience and marketing partners that are content-focused and share-friendly. By truly understanding their targets, Universal was able to develop content and tactical executions that resonated – and extend them when that resonance was validated. Some good examples were the “minions artwork” and “quotes of the day” that played up the silliness of the minions while at that same time connecting them to our daily lives.
Even though we all might not have quirky, lovable yellow characters to promote (that just happen to look exactly like Twinkies and Tic-tacs), we can all increase our chances of success by better leveraging the mass of information and feedback now available to us. We just need to make an effort to infuse that discipline into our process. #BobMadeMeDoIt