Viral virtues for film fans



Hollywood’s increasing reliance on online marketing has transformed an afternoon of fun at the cinema into months of great entertainment.

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Film studios are using social networking sites such as Facebook.

If you know where to look, these engaging and creative campaigns can keep you hooked long before the Johnny-come-lately folks board the movie fan bandwagon.

Ranging from clever photo/trailer reveals on Twitter to interesting mini game apps and scavenger hunts, there’s plenty to keep you counting down to that all-important release date.

One blockbuster that stands out from the crowd this summer is Super 8, which recently launched a video recorder app.

The Super 8 app enables iPhone and iPad users to simulate recording home movies on old Super 8mm film. There is a choice of seven different ‘lenses’, including colour, negative and infrared, giving users plenty of options to mess about with. It has been lauded by consumers and experts alike as a great app with long-term appeal.

Green Lantern is another flick that used this fun and subtle approach by endorsing the Zappar app, which interacts with images. Users simply point their iPhone’s camera at the traditional-looking posters and watch as the alien world behind star Ryan Reynolds comes alive – pretty nifty, eh?

Virtually all of this summer’s releases have used Youtube in some way or another, but Cars 2’s viral video for the Cars ‘n’ Deals dealership had us particularly intrigued.

It’s a low-quality advert for a typical second-hand showroom, but the keen-eyed out there were able to spot a hint which took them to an extended clip of the forthcoming film.

The heightened sense of reward from finding hidden Easter eggs like this is what makes viral marketing so effective when it’s done properly.

Social networking

For a while it seemed Hollywood’s finest were unsure about how to tackle social networking, but this summer is evidence that they’ve now got the hang of it.

The boffins behind X-Men: First Class chose Facebook to reveal the film’s first trailer to its loyal followers.

Marvel Studios also made headlines by gradually ‘teasing the teaser’ on Twitter for Captain America.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros has revealed how seriously film studios are taking social networking by agreeing a deal with Facebook to stream its movies online.

Next year

As the campaigns begin to wind down for this summer’s releases it’s time to start looking ahead to 2012’s vintage.

Comic fans are expecting big things from The Dark Knight Rises after The Dark Knight’s ‘Why So Serious?’ scavenger hunts in 2008 became massively popular.

The Twitter account @thefirerises could be worth keeping an eye on over the coming months after it gradually revealed the film’s villain, Bane, pixel by pixel, in May.

Another comic book film set to light up our lives next year is the long-awaited Avengers movie.

You can expect joinshield.com, which was previously used to promote Thor, to have regular updates as hype builds towards the epic Marvel adventure.

The idea of viewers stepping inside a movie and enjoying it on another level isn’t a new innovation, but these new methods have offered an unprecedented level of interaction. Long may it continue.

What do you think about viral campaigns? Comment below or tweet @dixonsintheknow