March 27, 2015

Sony Pictures: Whiplash

Surrounding the release of Oscar-winning film Whiplash, Sony Pictures worked with Spinnaker to design The Whiplash Experiment: a study into the physical affects felt by viewers throughout the film. This data was then used to create engaging content. Spinnaker tell us more

The Challenge

Whiplash is an award-winning masterpiece that opened the Cannes Film Festival and has won multiple awards, including three Oscars. To the consumer, however, it ran the risk of just being a movie about jazz drumming.

The client felt the topic may prove inaccessible and a harder sell for the average cinema goer. Our challenge was to demonstrate the thrill and intensity of a film that, on the surface, didn’t scream excitement.

Our objective for this campaign was quite straightforward: to make the audience feel part of the movie’s intense roller coaster action.

The Strategy

We all viewed the film, and were left on the edge of our seats. We needed to prove the movie packed an emotional punch which left audiences feeling physically affected. So we devised The Whiplash Experiment.

The basis of our experiment was a simple hypothesis. By observing and monitoring the physical reactions of a test audience, we could record any changes in heart rate, blood pressure and pulse readings during the more intense scenes of the movie.

Method Deployed

When the audience took to their seats for a special preview screening, we hooked them up to a series of monitors recording blood pressure, heart rate and pulse readings.

The results obtained proved our hypothesis correct. Observing the audience for the 109-minute running time, we recorded moments of excitement and elevated heart rate, and tracked stages where we noticed an increase in physical reactions.

We witnessed a spike in beats-per-minute—going from 70 to 132—and an astonishing loss of 375 calories, during the test screening of Whiplash. In order to make this figure relevant to our audience, we equated this to the action of numerous intense cardiovascular activities. An infographic compared Whiplash to jogging one and a half miles, swimming for 45 minutes, downhill skiing for 40 minutes, cycling for 30 minutes or doing martial arts for 30 minutes.

Using the data from The Whiplash Experiment, we produced a series of engaging short videos, memes and infographics, detailing the physical effects that Whiplash causes.

The content was then shared across the Whiplash and Sony Pictures social accounts.

The Results

Our campaign received a standing ovation with an incredible 78 thousand video views and an organic social reach of over 450 thousand, contributing to an overall box office figure of 1.6 million pounds.

Relation to Objectives and Cost Effectiveness

The objective for the campaign was to prove to the public that Whiplash was not just a movie about jazz drumming but it was, in fact, a thrilling, exhilarating experience.

With an overall organic reach of 450 thousand, we obtained an incredible cost-per-view of only three pence with our creative.

Our highly engaging video content successfully positioned Whiplash within the realms of competitor thrillers at a fraction of the cost. And a total of approximately three thousand pounds was dedicated to The Whiplash Experiment.