Score Infectious Marketing Prometheus Style
Confession: I’m a little late–three decades to be exact, to the Alien movie saga. In all honesty–I avoided these movies like the plague. My boyfriend, who is old and obviously sick and twisted, forced me to watch these films in preparation for the Prometheus film hitting theaters June 8th. It has been a couple months and I’m still scared to eat a megajuana burrito because of that too-full-belly-dissent that feels as if an alien could burst through my innards at any moment. It’s possible. Who knows what’s growing in refried beans?
But, no matter how I tried–I couldn’t escape the Prometheus hype. How could I? The prequel marketing machine opened the hatch early and often. Months before the scheduled film opening, video teasers made the rounds on the interwebs. The first was the “TEDTalk from the future” by Weyland Industries CEO Peter Weyland. (Fans will remember that Weyland Industries was responsible for the voyage to doom in the first place.)
The TED video is accompanied by the Weyland Industries microsite–complete with a mission database, investor information, and full product sections with videos and technical specs of their latest product: the David 8 Robot. Can you say creepy?
Of course, this microsite pales in comparison to the actual Prometheus website with forums that fans can’t get enough of. Right now, there are over 50,000 forum posts. There are also thousands of replies to fan questions and comments. The site also features film trailers and the latest news with high-definition photos and videos.
Fans keep “unearthing” more of these microsites with hidden user names and passwords. One example was found on the Weyland Industries Investor Timeline. The URL /eridu/ was on the Timeline and a fan unlocked it by investigating the word “Eridu.” Turns out it’s an ancient Sumerian city that is known today as “abu shahrain”–so that was the secret password. Pretty crazy? Reminds me of a decoder ring I found in a box of Lucky Charms once…
But, the real marketing hero has got to be their social media presence–especially their Facebook engagement. Over 190,000 people have liked their page and close to 20,000 are talking about them right now. How did they do that? Well, they’ve been stirring the pot… leaking new trailers, photos, and videos slowly but surely… live streaming Q&A’s with director Ridley Scott… featuring Friday Fan Art. There are also a steady stream of questions posed to fans like:
- What’s your favorite movie starring cast member Charlize Theron?
- If you could ask Ridley Scott one question, it would be…?
- What was your favorite line from Peter Weyland’s speech at the 2023 TED conference?
Now I’m guessing you don’t have the same marketing budget as the folks promoting this flick. Still, there are a few tricks that can bring ‘life form’ to your marketing.
Activate your community
Here’s the thing: Ridley Scott is a big deal. He directed Alien over 35-years ago and left the sci-fi community in waiting. Then, rumors bubble up that he’s working on a prequel to Alien. How does he reply? Sort of. Kinda. Maybe. No. Then, a Twitter and Facebook account are created called Prometheus Project. The trailer hits with that familiar stark lettering and wide-shot visuals that conjure questions that have been waiting dormant inside the sci-fi fan’s mind for over 3 decades.
Most brands have a following, though not as possessed as Prometheus fans. It’s a matter of understanding why they connect with you in the first place and delivering on those same images and messages to reignite them. When in doubt, ask your community what they’d like more or less of.
Wouldn’t it have been easier to launch their website fully loaded with all of their videos and photo galleries? Um, yeah but they teased out this content over the course of weeks and months–even hiding it in some cases for fans to discover their way to it. Some of their posts even hint that if so many people like an update–they’ll release new goodies the next day. For Prometheus fans, the mystery and intrigue both in when updates trickle out as well as the nature of the imagery and clips themselves, tap into why they fell in love with the film oh so long ago.
Showcase your fans
This campaign is putting fans in the spotlight whether it be their artwork for would-be posters, their questions about the upcoming film, or any feedback on the campaign. What’s interesting is that this feedback is not based on a contest or a giveaway but on long-term engagement.
Take em’ behind the scenes
Not only does this project celebrate its fans–it celebrates its crew with updates on their birthdays and spotlights of fan tributes. Each instance tells another piece of the story about the people behind the project. The team also shares interviews about the “making of the movie” without spoiling the film. They even share the backstory of how they worked with TED to create a talk from the future.
Make it real
There are so many offshoots of this story that have been built out in their marketing campaign. Instead of print ads to promote the movie itself, they took out a full-page Wall Street Journal ad featuring Weyland Industries’ David 8 Robot. They built a fully functional website as if Weyland Industries was a real company complete with a Careers and Investor Relations section. They collaborated with TED peeps to create a TED talk from the future that would be realistic for 2023. All of the layers create a life-like story about the movie.
Give em’ first dibs
Fans that create an account on any of the Prometheus Project websites can connect with other fan-boys on forums, as well as access special content and hidden sections of the website. Social followers are also privy to a steady stream of updates and juicy content–before it hits traditional media outlets. Instead of just sharing the full-length trailer with WonderCon attendees, they live streamed it through Facebook, Twitter, and AMC Theater’s website giving fans good reason to stay tapped in for what’s next.
Put some thought into your content strategy
Someone is working a content calendar here. The quality of content is certainly in line with fan’s expectations of the movie. The images and videos are intense, stunning, and in step with the original creative vision of Alien. The forum questions and social media posts tackle big questions and they tackle them on a steady basis. All of the microsites, which have sprung up periodically throughout this campaign, offer a healthy supply of content–a lot of which is user generated in the form of forum replies.
So here’s to some brain-sucking, heart-pumping, infectious marketing… and to getting your socks scared off on June 8th! Remember, in space no one can hear you scream.
And, in case you missed it–here’s the official Prometheus teaser trailer.