Last year, I wrote a blog post about Successful Movie Marketing Strategies and Why They Worked. One of the examples I named was the meme generator for 2015’s hit biopic Straight Outta Compton. The generator helped hype up the movie and sparked a viral campaign through user-generated content that promoted hometown pride and several creative, humorous lines riffing off the movie’s title.
This social media strategy was a huge success for Straight Outta Compton, but an epic #fail for Paramount Pictures’ Ghost in the Shell. The latter tried to promote its own viral meme generator at iammajor.me, a site where fans could identify with Major, the movie’s protagonist, by filling in their own answer to the prompt “What Makes You Unique?” and then sharing on social media with the hashtag #IAmMajor.
Although well intended, the campaign fell flat with fans of the original manga series from which the movie was adapted. Instead, the site became a launch pad for frustrated fans to create content expressing their disappointment in the film’s casting of Scarlett Johansson in the role of an Asian character.
Following the blowout, the iammajor.me website now leads to an application error message. Meanwhile, straightouttasomewhere.com, is still up and running two years later.
Bottom line: It’s OK to find inspiration from your fellow brands and adapt it for your own content. But be warned: If the content is not aligned with your target audience’s wants or expectations, it may not go over well. Study your consumer insights and analytics as much as possible, and keep in mind that what works for one brand’s followers won’t necessarily work for yours.