It’s hard to overstate the massive success of the film adaptation of ‘The Hunger Games’. So far the first film in the series has grossed over $250 in eleven days, higher than any ‘Twilight’ adaptation and every ‘Harry Potter’ adaptation, save for the final installment in the series. This isn’t just a hit family film like ‘The Lorax’, this is one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Films opening up on Memorial Day weekend or Independence Day are expected to open this way, but how does this happen in late-winter/early Spring? Children are in school, adults are working and Hollywood is usually at it’s sleepiest this time of year. Some would attribute this to marketing techniques, particularly ones used through social media outlets.
Many business degrees today emphasize the use of social media marketing, but often times don’t understand that social media is a dynamic tool. Wielding various outlets requires creativity and timeliness. For example, despite the wealth of billboards in cities around the world and the usual onslaught of television ads, ‘The Hunger Games’ presence was felt on-line in ways far more advanced than simple banner ads on popular websites. The marketing team for ‘The Hunger Games’ created 13 Facebook pages representing the different districts that play a role in the story. Facebook user could align themselves with the district of their choice and become ‘citizens’ of a specific district. A Twitter account was created for The Capitol, a reference to the central city in the story, and has since been followed by over 66,000 people. Meanwhile, ‘The Hunger Games’ was mentioned about 1 million times on Twitter last month, according to real-time search site Topsy.com.
In a move that suggests a sophisticated awareness of the series large female fan-base, the films marketers even created a Tumblr account called Capitol Couture to discuss the wild fashions worn by characters in the series. This this sort of interactivity has proven popular in the past. ‘Harry Potter’ fans take quizzes on Facebook to find out which ‘wizarding house’ they belong in and then post the results for friends to see. ‘Twilight’ of course has it’s ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’ campaign.
The popularity of these social media efforts seem to be paying off. Though there is still a question of whether the success of ‘Hunger Games social marketing is due to the popularity of the series or if it is actually increasing awareness and eventually the number of tickets sold. While there is no concrete data yet to prove the usefulness of the social media, consider the case of ‘Hunger Games’, with it’s myriad uses of social media, vs. ‘John Carter’, which focused most of it’s marketing on the traditional marketing and on-line banner ads that most people seem to simply find annoying. The $250 million and counting racked up by ‘The Hunger Games’ on a budget of $80 million speaks a lot louder than the $66 million ‘John Carter’ has earned on a budget of at least $250 million. With those sort of numbers, it’s safe to say you can expect to see a major increase in social media usage by Hollywood in the near future.