Marketing teams in Hollywood are becoming increasingly aware of what their audiences want and how to give it to them. Lionsgate is one studio that has gone above and beyond when it comes to engaging their fans and turning movie-going into a wholly new experience. But this latest stroke takes the cake in "world-building," marketing's sexy buzz word that goes miles in moving the needle.
Just like the fear landscapes in the Divergent book series, Tim Palen and the Lionsgate marketing braintrust want fans to step into Tris' world and experience what it feels like to be a Divergent.
The "Insurgent - Shatter Reality" Virtual Experience will be a "a fully-immersive, 360° narrative experience set in the world of the upcoming feature film The Divergent Series: Insurgent." It will also feature appearances from characters in the series such as Jeanine (Kate Winslet), Peter (Miles Teller) and Max (Mekhi Phifer).
So, what they're saying is that my dreams will come true? I am going to get to (virtually) meet Miles Teller?
According to Lionsgate, this four minute VR experience puts you squarely in the grasp of Divergent-hunter Jeanine Matthews.
By putting on the Gear VR headset, consumers are immersed in the role of “Divergent” members of society who have been captured by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) and her Erudite faction and are subjected to a series of mental ”simulations” in order to determine the full extent of their divergence.
Starting February 27, you can find the VR content through Samsung Gear™ VR powered by the Galaxy Note® 4, or check it out on a tour of cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco before it's available to other platforms and app stores.
For those of us not lucky enough to live in one of the cities on tour, from March 7-8, select Best Buy stores will host the experience via Samsung Gear VR. While there's no word on when this experience will be available for purchase to the masses, I can imagine it might be released for Cardboard or other VR viewing devices eventually.
And this massive VR initiative is just the latest in immersive marketing from one of Hollywood's most innovative media teams.
In 2014 Lionsgate rolled out one of the best campaigns I've ever seen for the third installment of the Hunger Games series [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1](movie:446261). Let's take a look back.
Social Media Campaign
This sleek and effective strategy took social media by storm. Largely using Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook, Lionsgate immersed fans into the world of the Hunger Games leading up to the film's release on November 21.
They used Youtube and their partnership with Google to create CapitolTV, videos that showed clips and images from the film, while under the guise of being President Snow-approved programming for all of Panem.
The Capitol's Twitter account also took to addressing followers as the citizens of Panem, including unplanned interruptions from the resistance's Beetee.
Merging Fantasy with Reality
Prior to the film's release Lionsgate Marketing also launched a fictitious online magazine featuring clothing, perfume, makeup, and technology that can be found in the Capitol.
The Capitol Couture magazine mirrors high fashion ads we see everyday, it makes the world of President Snow seem more relatable, if still inaccessible.
By blending our reality with the fantasy of The Hunger Games, fans were getting involved and being marketed to without it feeling forced. Not to mention, these measures represented a much more cost-efficient means of promoting the film.
Lionsgate also upped the ante to other marketing teams by building the interactive app Our Leader the Mockingjay, which is available on iOS and Android for download.
Not only did this app allow users to play around in District 13's hovercraft, it also featured a hidden clip which gave fans their first look at characters like Cressida and Pollux. Side note: We had a ton of fun playing with this app at the Moviepilot office.
So They're At It Again...
After the whopping critical and commercial success of Mockingjay - Part 1, Lionsgate made the wise decision to keep on with their avant-garde marketing strategy for the second film in the Divergent series.
After it was announced that [Insurgent](movie:949018) would be screened in 3D, the studio released a set of awesome, interactive 3D posters to help get fans excited about the sequel. Check them out below:
Incredibly cool and again interactive, these might be my favorite 3D posters to date; a perfect precursor to today's sweeping VR announcement.
And with Lionsgate bringing the VR experience to a wide audience, the final frontier in media seem that much closer. The future is now, people!
So, are you ready to start facing your fears?