Smith: Why did you decide to run this type of
activity for this film?
South Africa is an incredibly diverse market - we have many
different cultures here - and a lot of the times the promotions
that are done in other markets don't work here.
At the same time the first Hangover
film had been incredibly successful. Audiences attendances stayed
high for weeks rather than dropping after the first weekend,
indicating the power of word of mouth for this franchise. We wanted
Hangover Part II to enjoy the same success.
The competition for audiences has
become fiercer, even since the first Hangover film was released.
There is a lot more content fighting for the same cinema going
audience - especially the core 16-24s that might watch Hangover. We
needed to do something different alongside our classic media to
stand out from the crowd.
did you do?
CA: Our aim was to
create something really different that said this film is coming. We
knew traditional media would create awareness but we wanted to
appeal to the core 18-24-year-old male who might go with his mates
or his girlfriend.
We needed to speak to them in a way
that would titivate and excite, creating an illusion of chaos while
also ensuring our content was in line with the spirit of the
We identified key voices in the
digital realm that had a following. Since people follow people not
brands we recruited entertainment bloggers Dan Nash and Mike
Dan is owner of new media specialists
Rubiks Room and owner of South Africa's number two entertainment
blog www.bangersandnash.com while Mike is the owner of digital
communications agency Retroviral with extensive experience of
blogging, shooting and seeding videos online.
We arranged for them to attend the
premiere (accompanied by a stuffed tiger) and then enabled them to
spend the rest of the night engaging in activities that created a
South African experience drawing inspiration from the film's major
All the while they were creating
content for our consumers with posts streamed onto their blogs,
Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. In total we reached 36.000 social
media fans who then spread the word via their own feeds.
Working alongside the traditional
media, our digital activation helped Hangover Part II perform 20%
better than the first film at the box office, an impressive
did the activation deliver for your brand?
CA: Digital PR and
social content is most likely always right for a campaign or
product if seeded and targeted to an influential few who have a
targeted audience, especially if it has a general positive
sentiment. When social bloggers talk positively about a product,
they build a natural positive brand positioning within the market.
Influencers can evolve a brand's perception and create a sense of
aspiration within this space.
did you learn from the experience?
CA: The main learning
for me as a marketer is just how much the marketing landscape has
changed from monologue to dialogue. It's also reinforced my
perception of the power of endorsement: If someone takes time out
of their day to engage with you, not just like your brand, that's
For us as movie marketers, there is a
consumer expectation that we will be ahead of the game, so it's
vital that we embrace these techniques and environments.
you apply these techniques to all the films that you
CA: Although South
Africa is very diverse, at the end of the day a young person is a
young person whether they are white, Zulu or Xhosa but at the same
time there are little idiosyncrasies that we are learning to
integrate into our campaigns.
Obviously some films lend themselves
far more to this type of content or activation. When the content
doesn't lend itself to a consumer-driven campaign, however, that's
when we need to be more creative. We need to challenge ourselves
more and ask how can we target 50-year-old females, for example, in
a way that doesn't feel flat or doesn't engage. In the case of the
Hangover II the content did lend itself to a consumer-driven
campaign - but the point was to get the target audience talking
about the film and endorsing it through word of mouth - more
effective with the target audience than conventional media.
do you envisage activation working alongside your traditional media
CA: Our strategy
going forward is to integrate the various elements of our campaign
so that there is an over-riding strategy and a stronger link
between what we are doing virally and what we are doing
traditionally. This results in a more impactful message being
communicated to the consumer. So our cinema materials need to have
a Facebook link or a QR code. The message must be on every piece of
material in a way that shows the consumer that we're trying to
create a conversation with them. We're not just trying to get to
them by bombarding them with our messages.
In the South African market,
integration with mobile is also very important. This can be as
simple as SMS short codes, or as advanced as Augmented Reality. The
key is to get the basics right and build from there.
Ultimately, social PR and digital is
not about a platform, but more about the conversation and a
culmination of all channels driving a strong unified message
bringing all the pieces together seamlessly.
do you see activation being used in the future?
CA: I think that when
we see more budget shifting from buying banners and buttons to
creating amazing content that people naturally want to share, we'll
be heading in the right direction.
It is imperative that integration not
be perceived as repetition across platforms, but rather as each
channel working together closely toward the campaign objective.
The future of activation is in
reaching people by targeting by interest and behaviour, with a
relevant message in order to get them to talk about a film or in
order to do something and then selecting the right channels
according to the role they perform.
Alongside our activation we need to
leverage banners and creative with segmented messaging to drive
people to those conversations and activation.
Longevity is key to success -
recruiting consumers campaign by campaign is a dead community.
Retention and building strong long-term relationships with consumer
communities will move customers towards becoming brand fans.
advice would you give to someone who hasn't gone down this
CA: There's a saying
that you remember 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear and
80% of what you experience. Getting consumers to experience your
brand or content or product is incredibly effective. It makes your
brand part of their social space.
Brands have to remember that it's no
longer enough to just talk to consumers we need to get them to
experience our brands.
The right approach will vary from
category to category. In our case it's our content that enables
consumers to contribute to the campaign and makes them feel they
are participating in the message not just being talked to or
Experience is the key to marketing in
the future. A social campaign is not about having a Facebook page.
It's about having meaningful conversations over a period with the
right people, giving them remarkable content so that they will
share it. It's a shift from advertising to social influence.
But most of all, start small, get the
basics right. You don't have to be everywhere at once, but wherever
you are, be present, consistent and 'wow' your audience
continuously so that our community will participate and grow.
Cherylann Smith is Senior Digital Strategist at MediaCom South
Charlotte Archer is Marketing Manager for Warner Bros. at South
African film distributor Nu Metro
THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS
EXPRESSED IN THIS DOCUMENT ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.