Commentary

Brands Get Blockbuster Engagement From Ads With Big Movie Tie-Ins

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, July 17, 2015
Major movie studios release their biggest summer blockbuster films every year between May and July, with these high-grossing “tentpole” films earning hundreds of millions, even billions, at the box office.  Brands that leverage big movies in their ad campaigns are making smart marketing moves, as campaigns with film tie-ins generate significant viewership.  These partnerships let brands capitalize on the major buzz created by these big movies while allowing them to create more engaging ad content that builds on a film’s story – which makes viewers even more likely to engage with the content.

The biggest movie of summer 2015 so far is "Jurassic World.” Here’s the story of the  top three content marketing campaigns that successfully leveraged ties to this blockbuster film.

Mercedes-Benz: “Something Big Is Coming”
This is the most successful Jurassic-based campaign to date, with an astounding 6.3 million views since it debuted in May.  There are four key reasons for its success.  First, the Mercedes campaign was an integrated partnership with “Jurassic World” that tied its products directly to the movie instead of a one-off video ad that only referenced the film.  The Mercedes TV spots leveraged the tagline “This summer’s hottest blockbuster, featuring this summer’s hottest ride” while including clips from the movie featuring Mercedes vehicles.  At the end of the ads, there is a classic car commercial style shot of the new Mercedes GLE Coupe.  

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Mercedes also tightly integrated other campaign initiatives by including a behind-the-scenes featurette about the film and Mercedes’ involvement in it.  The featurette included the film’s actors talking about driving the GLE Coupe and showed clips from the movie that showcased that model and other Mercedes vehicles used in the film.  

By choosing a movie tie-in that matched its brand promise, the branded content produced by Mercedes fit the world of "Jurassic World" and did not seem out-of-context to viewers. For example, "Jurassic World" is also an upscale theme park, so it was fitting to feature one of the world’s most enduring luxury car brands within it.

Lastly, Mercedes perfectly timed its campaign to the opening of "Jurassic World" on May 25, creating major buzz across traditional media and social channels.

Samsung: "Jurassic World"

The second most viewed Jurassic-based campaign, with over 4.9 million views, included a compelling video featurette for the film including interviews and clips that were uploaded to both Facebook and YouTube by Samsung. Like Mercedes-Benz, Samsung’s campaign was a true partnership between the film and the brand, with Samsung’s products integrated into the movie’s story.  There is an actual real-life Samsung visitor’s center featured in "Jurassic World,” which served as the centerpiece of the campaign. 

du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company) – “Dinosaur Prank”
The third-most-viewed campaign, with over 2.4 million views, promotes both "Jurassic World" and du’s promotion in which customers can get two tickets for the price of one on Tuesdays.  The main video in the campaign, which was the prank video, shows people in a movie theater and parking garage who were frightened when someone in a giant dinosaur costume surprised them.  People love watching prank videos, and the content created by du was hilarious and entertaining, which contributed to its high viewership.

Brands that want to replicate the success enjoyed by Mercedes-Benz, Samsung and du are advised to consider the following when releasing blockbuster movie-based campaigns:

Pick a movie tie-in that is consistent with brand values. Be selective and ensure that the film story reflects the brand promise and what consumers associate with the brand.

Make sure the brand plays a key role within the film’s storyline. Product placement in a movie can help spur greater ad engagement while letting the brand have a role in the movie that is an extension of its role outside the film.

Don’t be in a cast of thousands. Be selective and pick a movie that has fewer advertising partnerships so that your brand will remain distinctive and stand out in the crowd.

Avoid over-saturation.Don’t overwhelm consumers with too much cross-marketing and promotion, which can ultimately suppress product sales.

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