How ‘Hunger Games’ Built Up Must-See Fever through Social Media

Hunger Games

The way movies are marketed today has changed dramatically from the past of just having trailers and posters.  This can be seen by how the ever anticipated Hunger Games is marketed extensively through social media.  They have used Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, a Tumblr blog, iphone games and live Yahoo streaming from the premiere.  They have spent a lot less than other films of similar magnitude on marketing by relying on these cheaper digital forms of marketing.  They had a day-by-day, and even minute-by-minute plan in their social media campaign.  This was well orchestrated in order to build up the hype for the big day and encourage fans to recommend the movie to others.

They used social media in very unique ways:

  • The facebook page enables customers to buy tickets in advance, make a free ID card, take a virtual tour of the capital, and play a game.
  • October included Twitter stunt, allowing those ID makers to campaign online to be elected mayor of various districts of Panem.
  • On Dec. 15, 100 days before the movie’s release, the studio created a new poster and cut it into 100 puzzle pieces. It then gave digital versions of those pieces to 100 Web sites and asked them to post their puzzle piece on Twitter in lockstep. Fans had to search Twitter to put together the poster, either by printing out the pieces and cutting them out or using a program like Photoshop. “The Hunger Games” trended worldwide on Twitter within minutes.
  • They have district pages for Hunger Games and the most influential sharer can become the mayor of the page with more access to news and prizes

Analysts predict sales for the movie will make about $90 million on opening weekend, far more than the first Twilight.  Also, viewers are saying they expect to see the movie more than once which will also increase ticket sales.

Do you think the social media blitz was really the cause of the hype for Hunger Games and box office sales?

Do you think this social media blitz will be able to extend the life of the movie beyond seeing it in theatres?

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7 thoughts on “How ‘Hunger Games’ Built Up Must-See Fever through Social Media

  1. The social media blitz was definitely the cause of the level of hype for the movie, as a book transitioning to film, there is always some integrated hype already because the book has a following. The games/scavenger hunts/etc helped take that level of hype and introduce it to a new curious audience who may not initially be interested or aware but saw it on a friend’s facebook or trending on twitter. It also kept the original and new audiences interested over the course of time to have a butterfly effect onto new users. Lionsgate was also able to keep the attention on the movie and way from the actual content of the movie which is children killing children. Had they traditionally advertised it with commercials, there would be a backlash of “how dare they” and parents keeping it away from their kids, that the movie would not be put out, delayed, protested, or seen for the wrong reasons (curiosity).

    Ultimately, the social media blitz will only being to extend its life to DVD if the movie is well-received. If so, they can continue games and other interactive activities and maintain them through the sequel, if it that is well received, it can be one long cycle through the 4th but it really does depend on the audience’s thoughts on the finished product.

    I am curious if they took this route of social media advertising and this overall campaign by choice or because they had a small budget and they creatively decided this was the best way to meet their goal.

  2. Looks like all the hype worked well as (early reports say) the film grossed $155 million this weekend, the third most for an opening weekend, behind only the Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (final numbers wil be released Monday).

    http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/03/25/box-office-report-hunger-games/?hpt=hp_t3

    Interestingly enough, the age of the moviegoers was somewhat split, skewing older if anything – 56% were at least 25 years old; 44% were less than 25 years old. There was a 61%/39% male/female split.

  3. This sounds like a really creative social media marketing campaign for the movie’s key demo. I think it will help create more hype because people engaging in the social will have something more to share then just their thoughts on the trailer/books and will be more engaged with the “event” of the theatrical release, thereby helping to make it more of an event. Not sure what is meant by extending the life of the movie beyond theaters. Do you mean the eventual blu ray/dvd or other products like video games, books, apparel, etc? I would think the studio will have a new campaign for the blu ray/dvd release and licensees of branded product and Scholastic, the publisher, will have their own campaigns.

  4. Honestly I am surprised to see the buzz that Hunger Games generated via social media. The first time I’ve seen its trailer in the theatre early this year I thought it must be a terrible movie. But just yesterday my roommate claimed seeing people waiting in line to get the tickets. The last time we remember that people, mostly teenagers, waited in line to see a film was Twilight.
    I think this social media promotion of Hunger Games has something to do with Liongate’s limited budget. But wouldn’t it be weird that they had only 45 million for promotion while 80 for production? Obviously they were trying to make it a well-made blockbuster.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57403323-501465/the-hunger-games-marketing-team-turns-to-social-media/

    http://www.inc.com/john-brandon/4-social-media-secrets-from-hunger-games.html

    http://news.yahoo.com/hunger-games-sets-records-us-opening-weekend-200037147.html

    Anyway, Hunger Games did a great job of utilizing social media to help promoting the movie. They did not just post news or related articles on their Facebook page or through Twitter account. They made it interesting to get engaged in. The ID and puzzle pieces also make it easier to calculate their social media ROI. However, all these worked is because it fit Hunger Games’ targeting market: IT IS A TEEN DRAMA. For professionals busy like you, would you spend your time taking part in such social games?

  5. This was a brilliant campaign and I think we’ll see more of these social media tools used in promotions because of their cost and reach benefits.
    However, I’m skeptical as to whether this will work with all movie genres; clearly there’s a devout following for The Hunger Games that allows for plot reveals, and interaction with the audience. But how would The Artist capture this energy? What can ’21 Jumpstreet’ offer in an online platform?

  6. I think the audience that wanted to see hunger games lent itself to the use of social media, teenagers and young adults. Now sure if many babyboomers would spend time looking for puzzle pieces of a promotional poster on twitter or another site. I have not seen much about the movie in my newsfeeds, but I do want to see it as it just looks like a good movie. If there was a large use of social media for twilight I think it would seem to have the same effect, however I wouldn’t see that movie because it doesn’t interest me. Proving again the ROI on social media is a tricky thing. Well made movie or good use of social media?

    • Completely agree with this sentiment. The target age group for the specific genre of movie is already engrained with social media usage. It was only logical to leverage this well know statisic to the benefit of the movie industry.

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