5 Outstanding Examples of Viral Marketing For Movies

Wednesday, February 22 by Gregory Wakeman

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The progress of technology over the last decade has meant that studios have had to embrace different forms of promotional techniques. Gone are bus posters and countless TV appearances from the stars of the film. They've been replaced by social networking sites and viral campaigns. You know viral campaigns. Normally they come in the mode of annoying internet pop ups but when they are created well they can engage potential audience members in ways that filmmakers never thought possible. Here are the five most outstanding viral marketing campaigns for movies.

"Snakes On A Plane."

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Basically "Snakes On A Plane" is such a catchy little title that on the strength of its name alone the film became the movie phenomenon of 2006. Its marketing campaign involved the participation of millions of fans of the film who hadn't even seen the movie yet. The filmmakers behind the project even re-shot extra scenes that involved nudity and passengers being mauled by snakes to appease the expectant audiences. They wrote songs, designed posters and created unique memorabilia for what in the end was a pretty average movie.

"Inception."

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On the back of the success of "The Dark Knight" viral campaign, Chris Nolan created several viral games and interviews with dream scientists that helped to elevate fan interest. The basic plot points of the film were kept strictly under wraps with the "Inception" marketing team performing a blitzkrieg assault on the internet. It also confirmed that Chris Nolan was the most progressive director of his generation.

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JJ Abrams used his knowledge and experience of viral marketing from his days on "Lost" to promote this New York disaster movie. They used countless misdirection techniques which included calling the movie "Slusho" and "Colossus" to keep fans guessing for months leading up to the film's release. Of course many viewers still completely lost after they had actually seen the film, but that doesn't diminish the quality of the marketing that was done in advance of the film. If anything, the campaign was better than the final product!

"The Dark Knight."

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Chris Nolan was the first filmmaker to unleash the true potential that marketing campaigns had to offer. Sure, it had ben before with other movies and with videogames, but he created the unique "I Believe In Harvey Dent" political poster and ominous images of The Joker saying "see you in December" on the whysoserious.com website which became an internet sensation. All of this helped the film gross over a $1 billion worldwide. It also helped that the film kicked an enormous amount of ass. Got to have the steak to go along with all that sizzle!

"Toy Story 3."

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Woody, Buzz and Co probably didn't need any help getting the attention of the masses, but the various Ken-themed viral videos were immensely popular and hilarious, with "Groovin with Ken" and "Ken's dating tips" particular highlights. This viral campaign provoked an enormous amount of interest and evoked a retro 1980s feeling that would become more apparent in the actual film. All of this helped Pixar make an astounding $1 billion in sales. A whole generation had been waiting for this movie to come out, and it certainly didn't disappoint.