How Social Media Helped ‘Secret Life Of Pets’ Strike Box Office Gold
As studios shift more of their precious marketing dollars away from traditional marketing methods and towards digital campaigns, social media is taking on ever greater importance – so what clues did online activity give us about the box office potential of last weekend’s wide releases?
Secret Life of Pets (Universal)
Forecast: $85 million
Actual: $103 million
Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates (20th Century Fox )
Forecast: $14 million
Actual: $16 million
Secret Life of Pets opened even above my highest expectations, not only toppling Finding Doryfrom the top spot at the box office, but also becoming the highest opening for an original movie of all time. The record-breaking weekend was fueled by fevered social conversation that began from the moment the teaser trailer dropped a year ago.
The trailer was an instant hit with fans and was received rapturously when it made the rounds on social. Universal has a good track record debuting spots on social platforms after breaking records with the Fast 7 trailer and Secret Life of Pets clocked up a massive 150 million trailer views acrossFacebook FB -0.14% and YouTube before the movie hit theaters – over 50 million more than Dorywas able to muster.
Trailers are perhaps the most pivotal element of any movie campaign and with a very popular spot already in the bag it was left to the marketing campaign to convert that awareness into ticket sales. The digital campaign included many fun activations, including a takeover of Pet Smart properties, not only with classic in store promotions, but also across their website and social accounts, a GoPro integration to see what really happens when you leave your pet at home, a mobile game for kids as well as a Petmoji app to create fun, unique emoji versions of your pets.
On social fans were able to share funny pictures of their own pets with the #SecretLifeOfMyPethashtag and the movie had a heavy Snapchat presence. Tellingly Pets was able to leverage the popularity of fellow Illumination titles like the perennial favorites Minions to add an extra level of endorsement to the film. These activations added fuel to the fire started by the trailer, which led to a hugely successful weekend.
Counter-programming for the weekend came from 20th Century Fox with Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which did exactly what it said on the tin. A campaign which showcased the movie’s humor and added some amusing elements of its own lead to a solid weekend with the movie over performing its expectations in the low teens.
Mike & Dave launched Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and J-Swipe integrations including the opportunity to attend the premiere by “swiping right” on the real life Mike and Dave who inspired the story. Fans were also able to brand their friends as hazards to a happy wedding reception with the “Not Safe For Weddings Registry” to try and keep them out of harm’s way. Mike & Dave was able to stir up over 50,000 tweets which was a solid indicator the movie would perform on target for the weekend.
Next week sees the debut of Ghostbusters and it will be intriguing to see how social conversation, which has not been altogether positive for this title, affects box office performance.
Article written by Phil Walden of Forbes.0