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Updated by ASEC International on Feb 16, 2014
Headline for Unconventional Movie Campaigns
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Unconventional Movie Campaigns

Over the past several years, movie campaigns have gone beyond the usual trailers, posters and websites, branching out into social media, guerilla marketing and other experimental tactics.

The Dark Knight

The 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight featured a mock website for fictional politician Harvey Dent. Then they let the Joker "hack" it, vandalizing images of Dent and showing the first images of the Joker on the internet before the film's release. Finally, they released the still-active, Joker-focused site Why So Serious?. Later, they hijacked Comic-Con, asking fans to go on a "scavenger hunt" for a teaser clip and another never-before-seen image of the Joker. The full campaign can be found at FilmSchoolRejects.com.

Why we love it: This campaign started the viral film campaign trend that let to some other brilliant film campaigns, including District 9 and The Devil's Due.

The Muppets

This super-cute and clever 2011 spoof of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trailer advertised Disney's The Muppets movie.

Why we love it: Like we said, it's super-cute and clever, playing on a popular movie trailer for adults to advertise for a kids' movie.

District 9

From Flavor Wire: If you lived in a big city and were waiting for a bus in 2009, chances are you came across the above poster campaign for the Peter Jackson produced District 9. The film about an extraterrestrial race forced into slums while trying to live amongst humans on earth got its messages of xenophobia and segregation across loud and clear with their widespread campaign (that also included various stickers and other posters/signs). Viral websites and blogs — one run by aliens complaining about the government’s relocation efforts — also popped up.

Why we love it: This campaign went well beyond the typical film trailer, challenging future film marketing to move advertising off the screen and into the real world in powerful, unexpected ways.

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Carrie

Carrie

MGM and Screen Gems film studios hired Thinkmodo to create a promotional video for their remake of the Stephen King classic Carrie. Set in a real coffee shop with a mix of actors and real customers, the video depicts an argument between a man and a young woman over spilled coffee that goes terribly wrong—the man is thrown against the brick wall behind him and raised several feet into the air, tables scatter across the floor, and books tumble from the shelves, all seemingly caused by the young woman’s nascent psychic powers.

Why we love it: It brilliantly and effectively mixed guerilla tactics (the live prank) with viral internet marketing that created a lot of buzz.

The Wolverine

The Vine trailer for The Wolverine movie was the first of its kind, shortening a trailer to just six seconds long.

Why we love it: Vine films are a challenging medium that, like Twitter with words, requires clarity and succinctness to work. This trailer did a great job of summing up the plot of the movie without giving too much away.

The LEGO Movie

To tip fans off to the UK release of The LEGO Movie, Warner Bros. spoofed several popular British commercials.

Why we love it: Like The Muppets, it's an ad campaign for a kids' movie that utilizes popular adult culture in clever ways, drawing both adults and children to movie theaters. It also shows that the advertisers took the time to get to know the local market--a great example for advertising of all genres.

The Blair Witch Project

From Masters in Marketing: The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999, and its entire strategy was to make people believe that the fictional documentary-style movie was actually a factual account. A website was created to present some of the “evidence” – thus backing up the all-too-real-seeming trailer – and police reports, in-depth back story, legends about the Blair Witch, photos and interviews were all circulated.

Why we love it: It was viral before viral really took off, and the first movie campaign of its kind to bring fiction into real life--or at least make it seem that way.

Sesame Street: Lord of the Crumbs (Lord of the Rings Parody)

Legend speaks of a dessert unimaginably sweet and delicious, and when it was destroyed all that remained was the dessert's powerful recipe. It remained in the hands of a monster named Gobble for a long time, but when it disappeared, all cookies on Monster Earth disappeared along with it.

Why we love it: This Lord of the Rings parody is downright hilarious for those who enjoy the books and movies. Take a look at Cookie Monster learning to make his precious cookies in the fires of Mount Crumb.