Chronicle — the new #1 movie in North America, taking in over $22 million over Super Bowl weekend — is a thriller in the tradition of The Blair Witch Project, in which the film is presented as a collection of real footage found after the event. But Chronicle's innovation goes well beyond the "found footage" gambit.
Where the film was truly innovative was in a promotion that won the film boatloads of attention and earned media. The week before its release, 20th Century Fox flew "people" above New York City in a stunt that generated viral buzz.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes:
"Fox launched a grassroots marketing strategy by sending human-shaped RC planes into the New York City air, giving the illusion of flying teens and making bystanders do a double-take. At the time of publication, a video on YouTube of the stunt had generated more than 5 million hits and caught the attention of the Today Show, Early Today, Bloomberg News, LA Times, ABC, NBC, KTLA and local news outlets nationwide."
That YouTube video, which you can watch below, has notched more than 6.7 million views:
Even more groundbreaking is that Chronicle is a film with no official webpage. Instead, Chronicle's entire "official" web existence is a Facebook page. The film currently has a modest 385,025 likes.
While it might seem not that big a deal, that a mainstream film would give up completely on maintaining a webpage in exchange for using just social media for its main presence says a lot about the target audience it's trying to reach. In Chronicle's marketing plan, word of mouth and engagement has been fostered via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr. The message marketers are sending is that there just is no use having a dedicated web address, that a vanity URL is just that, vanity.
Why use a Facebook page as the main site? All of Chronicle's target audience is almost certainly on Facebook. While a webpage is a one-way street for promotion, a Facebook page allows for a dynamic interaction.
Chronicle's marketing scheme will have studio and other marketers paying attention, too. The film stunned the entertainment industry by blowing through expectations and raking in that $22 million during a Super Bowl weekend.
For all of the product placements in Chronicle (iPads!) visit our Brandcameo product placement database. And get ready for the Brandcameo Product Placement Awards on Monday, February 13.