In a year of big blockbusters, the release of ‘yet another’ Terminator film was challenging. Our job was to revive anticipation amongst hard-core fans and the general public alike to ensure that the film took its rightful place as THE event movie of the summer.
Campaign strategy was two-fold: target hard core Terminator fans early and encourage them to become vocal film advocates; and then closer to release date use attention grabbing techniques and rich media formats to push film content out to a wider audience. This duel strategy was a departure from usual theatrical campaigns which tend to concentrate on driving awareness 4 weeks prior to opening weekend. Our view was if you can get the fans talking about the film in a positive way early, they will do the awareness job for you.
6 months before opening weekend we seeded a T4 game application on Facebook via fan groups. The game plunged users into a post-apocalyptic world to fight ‘the machines’ alongside John Connor. Progress was rewarded with unseen film footage and visuals of new terminators and a Facebook fanpage connected the application to related news and exclusive content. The app encouraged users to play together with friends to win a private screening (and post-release a life size T-600). The game also allowed players to bring their friends into battle (via notifications) with progress being regularly updated on their news feed. Interaction times on display ads were maximised by incorporating exclusive clips and extended trailers.
4 weeks prior to release a display campaign launched, using a combination of rich media expandable formats showcasing unseen film footage, exclusive downloads and links to the Facebook app.
Emails were sent out week of release, with the campaign culminating in high impact homepage takeovers across MSN, The Sun and MySpace on opening weekend.
Art direction was inspired by the war worn look of the trailer, ensuring brand consistency and credibility in the eyes of die hard fans. An animation of a morphing terminator head was created specifically for the MSN homepage takeover.
Over 30,000 application downloads prior to opening weekend, with over 2.5m people receiving a message from the game via a friend (highly cost effective at 0.017p per impression). Display ad CTR averaged 1.31% (average industry rate: 0.42%), with average interaction time of 10 seconds (average industry rate: 3 seconds). Notably, interaction rates for the MSN takeover averaged over 4 minutes. T4 opened as the biggest film of the year – taking over £20 million on opening weekend.