Happy Hunger Games Day! Today, the movie, based on the popular book series, hits theaters. Lionsgate, the studio that produced the film, has implemented one of the most innovative social media campaigns in movie marketing history to promote it. Film marketers should take notes on this one because it has definitely set the bar high for future movies.
The Hunger Games campaign kicked off at the MTV VMAs in August 2011 with the release of the first teaser trailer. At the end of the trailer was the Twitter hashtag #WhatsMyDistrict, which led fans to the one of film’s websites — thecapitol.pn.
Here, fans could enter the world Panem and register to receive their District Identification Pass (DIP), mirroring actions from the book. After signing in with Facebook, Twitter, or mobile, fans were assigned an occupation, district and citizen number. The most interesting part of this was the site based a fan’s assignment on their profile information. For example, I was assigned to District 3: Technology, which makes sense since I work in social media…
Citizens could download their DIP as their profile picture on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ or order a free, physical copy. So far, more than 800,000 people have registered.
Facebook served as the main hub of The Hunger Games social media campaign. After registering to become a citizen of Panem, fans were invited to join their designated District on Facebook. Each District had its own Facebook page in addition to the overall Hunger Games page.
In November, the full trailer for the movie premiered on iTunes Movie Trailers with another hashtag shown at the end. #HeadForTheSquare led fans to the Square tab on each District’s Facebook page and announced the District mayoral election. Judged on their influence, the mayors acted as leaders for their Districts and were responsible for celebrating its citizens and, more importantly, relaying message from the Capitol on Facebook.
Other coveted positions within each District were the recruiter, who help spread the word through the Districts on Twitter, and journalists, established bloggers who received “tips” from citizens and wrote about Hunger Games news.
By segmenting fans into their respective Districts, fans gained a sense of community while experiencing the world they read about in the books. There was also the added incentive for fans to follow these pages because they posted exclusive content, such as watching sneak peek movie clips or becoming a beta tester for the upcoming video game.
This Facebook strategy has definitely paid off. The Hunger Games Facebook page proves to have more engaged fans in comparison to the Twilight series, which has a similar demographic. On average, the Twilight Facebook page receives .20% engagement, whereas The Hunger Games page receives .90%.
In addition to including hashtags in the trailers, the film implemented a scavenger hunt and hashtag battle on Twitter. On December 15th, 100 days before the movie’s release, Lionsgate created a new poster for the film and cut it into 100 puzzle pieces. They gave digital versions of the pieces to 100 websites and asked them to post their piece on Twitter. Fans had to search Twitter to find the pieces and then put the poster together, either physically or through Photoshop. The Hunger Games trended worldwide on Twitter in a matter of minutes.
On Leap Day, the film teamed up with Barnes & Noble’s Nook to allow users to tweet special hashtags that unlock cities to show an early screening of the movies. If the city you tweeted was “unlocked” you were entered to win free tickets to attend.
Other Social Networks
In order to highlight the elaborate fashion portrayed in the movie, Lionsgate launched a Tumblog called Capitol Couture. It features the looks from major characters, including Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks) and Cinna (played by Lenny Kravitz), along with designs by Rodarte, Alexander McQueen, and Jean Paul Gaultier.
The Tumblog offered “uber-chic citizens” a chance to see an advanced screening by emailing their Tumblr URL with the subject line #LookYourBest. It also encouraged its followers to organize a Tumblr meetup to see The Hunger Games when it comes out.
Quora and Moviefone have partnered up to promote The Hunger Games. Moviefone will be taking questions on The Hunger Games from Quora everyday and highlighting the best answer on their site. You can see the questions on Moviefone’s site dedicated to Quora.
Capitol TV, the film’s YouTube Channel, displays movie footage and user-generated “Hunger Games” videos. Since it was launched in February, it has generated almost 18.1 million views.
Not since The Dark Knight have I seen a movie campaign like this. The most interesting part of The Hunger Games’ social media campaign is that the fact that it has kept its fans engaged during the entire campaign and plans to keep them engaged after the movie comes out. On release day, ”The Hunger Games Adventures” Facebook game will launch, opening up an interactive Panem for users to travel through and collect items alongside characters.
According to Lionsgate’s Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing Danielle DePalma,
“You’ve got to constantly give people something new to get excited about, but we also had another goal in mind. How do we best sustain online interest until the DVD comes out?”
I’m curious to see how Lionsgate will continue to promote the film until the DVD release and what it will do for the three sequels.