Monday, March 16, 2015

Viral Movie Marketing: The Power of Earned Media

This month, two movie publicity stunts have gone viral, showing the power of earned media--meaning buzz gained for free through consumer-shared social media mentions of a promotion or product. Paid media is the norm for most movie promotions but earned media is increasingly vital for the kind of word-of-mouth frenzy that will build anticipation about a movie's debut.

Last Friday, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson walked the runway for Valentino as a promo to introduce Zoolander 2, which will be in movie theaters next year. The buzz swept through Twitter and other social media with the #Zoolander2 hashtag trending high for hours due to retweets. The promo worked not only because it was a surprise but also because the actors walked the runway in character, the way they would in the movie.

Earlier this month, Vince Vaughn and his co-stars were posed in stock photos that can be downloaded for free to be shared and reshared and re-reshared. This promotion is for their new movie Unfinished Business and it pokes fun at the way many businesses use bland, sometimes cheesy corporate-type stock photos available for free or mere pennies. Media coverage of this promo agreed it was brilliant because of the close tie with the movie's business themes. In other words, these marketing moves earned media for the movies.

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