Social Marketing Success Story: Zombieland

I am not in the movie business, obviously. But even I know that releasing a new film in October usually means that your film is not of the “summer blockbuster” caliber, or even the “Christmas Holiday alternative” genre that sometimes leads to a decent Box Office.

But it was surprising to see that the movie Zombieland which opened this weekend utterly destroy the competition – by about 3 fold the box office of the second highest grossing film.

Some could argue that there was simply nothing better to go see. But, a campy comedy about Zombies with Woody Harrelson as the marquee star?  Hmmm…something else had to be afoot.

Turns out, Zombieland had an amazing amount of social media buzz going for it leading up to the release date. Tons of Twitter campaigns and natural word of mouth got people interested. Then, a second tier engagement strategy really blew me away, one I witnessed first hand…

To explain, I was out Friday evening with friends when we noticed a HUGE amount of young adults dressed in what seemed to be attire about a month early for Halloween. In short – they were all decked to the nines as…you guessed it, zombies.

To celebrate the release of the film – street teams started pushing the idea of dressing up to go to the first late evening showing on opening Friday. This type of engagement is genius – well beyond the silly early internet hype of the Blair Witch Project. The social angle – bringing like-minded people together for a commerce activity (buying a movie ticket) was executed well – to the obvious results of the film landing well in the number one spot.

So, here we see a strong social media case study. Identify your audience (through Twitter and Facebook groups) and create event-driven marketing that results in a positive business event (high box office receipts).

I mean seriously, look at the trailer. Without a tuned-in social strategy, do you think this type of movie would have been an instant hit (versus becoming a VHS-driven cult classic) 10 years ago?

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