Welcome to Moviepilot's Marketing Spotlight, our weekly look at which marketing campaigns are doing it right. In the world of entertainment, the marketing of a movie or TV series can be as important as the production itself. A good promo campaign can mean the difference between a hit and a flop, but a putting together a smart campaign is harder than it looks.
Here are the great pieces of marketing from this past Thanksgiving week, November 22-28.
Captain America: Civil War (Marvel Studios/Disney)
Marvel has never been subtle when it comes to its marketing and promotional campaigns for upcoming movies. Whereas Warner Bros. and DC operate with a "less is more" approach, Marvel gives fans the keys to the kingdom every step of the way. And on Tuesday night, heading into a long Thanksgiving weekend, Marvel dropped its most anticipated bit of promo since, well, [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) trailer.
Learning from the mistakes of that aforementioned trailer drop, which was supposed to have its world premiere during an episode of [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](tag:722469), only to be leaked a week ahead of time, Marvel kept news of the [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) trailer release tightly under wraps. It was a surprise to everyone when it was announced at the end of Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night that the guest stars for the next night would be none other than Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. Cue the excited buzz as fans speculated if they'd be bringing the trailer along with them.
Well, they did, along with the first official posters, and they had the impact everyone expected. Social media exploded late Tuesday night as the trailer debuted, and it continued to trend for days afterward heading into a Thanksgiving weekend. It was savvy timing and an example of the synergy of the House of Mouse, particularly with its Marvel brand: The announcement about Evans and Downey's joint appearance for the Marvel-themed episode on Kimmel's show, which airs on ABC, owned by Disney, was made during a Star Wars-themed episode the previous night. This is the power of Disney when its in full swing, utilizing its major properties to promote its other projects, thereby ensuring everything is kept in-house and all eyes remain squarely on Disney.
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6, 2016.
Krampus (Legendary/Universal Pictures)
Horror has experienced a massive resurgence in the last few years, and because of that, subgenres like horror-comedy are also taking off, showing that low-budget genre films can still turn a tidy profit at the box office. To that end, Legendary/Universal's Krampus is coming along at the right time, hitting its marketing stride and release early enough to get out of the way of the Star Wars juggernaut while still capitalizing upon the holiday spirit.
The marketing campaign has been smart, focusing as much on the comedy as the scares, enticing audiences who might not head to a pure horror film near the holidays. With a cast that has such comedic chops with Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner, making sure to put the comedy first and foremost in the trailer before turning the monsters loose was savvy. It's similar to what Blumhouse did with M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit, which went on to be a mid-sized hit and gain a huge return on investment.
And this is exactly what Legendary and Universal should be focusing on. Audiences are growing increasingly smarter and more dismissive of movies whose marketing campaigns packaged them as something they're not, and genre films haven't fared as well as could be expected this year. But those whose marketing campaigns utilized tongue-in-cheek humor and didn't take themselves too seriously have done better than expected. Krampus is firmly in this camp, and the box office should reflect that.
Krampus hits theaters on Friday, December 4th.