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News has just broken that Adam Sandler, the comic actor, has died in a snowboard accident today.

This isn’t the first time this news has been released – over the past few months, Sandler’s ‘death’ has been reported with only the date changing depending on the day of the article. For some reason, someone, somewhere decided that this would be a good idea to bring out a story about his death to coincide with promotion for the movie.

Although pranksters are responsible for that peculiar piece of marketing, here are some original ways moviemakers built up hype to get audiences interested in their film.

The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project was ground breaking in its use of the internet to promote the budget film in a way that was highly cost effective yet had the maximum impact. It used the classic horror tagline ‘based on a true story’ to increase interest, but combined this with a website that purported to contain evidence to support the claim. Police reports, urban legends, photos, posters, interviews, all fashioned in painstaking detail to create a brand new myth that people genuinely believed was old.
Even without the ability of sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word quickly, the tactic won a great deal of interest, fuelled further by rumours carefully planted on message boards and official seeming websites that stated that all the starring actors were dead.

Despite its tiny budget of $22,000, the film was an international hit and showed just how important the right kind of marketing can be. It paved the way for other, more unusual marketing campaigns.

Chronicle

Chronicle, a film about three young boys who gain telekinetic abilities after encountering a weird, alien object, drew inspiration from the films event to plan an elaborate hoax. Hundreds of New Yorkers who looked in the sky one day were fooled into thinking that they were genuinely watching three people flying over their city.

Of course, they weren’t. What were really above them were air crafts disguised as people to mimic the story of the film.
The stunt itself was only witnessed by a relatively small number of people. However, thanks to camera phones and the film’s own marketing team, videos quickly started circulating on the internet and when the film premiered, it topped the box office that weekend.

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