With the imminent launch of the latest movie from the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant,21st Century Fox wanted to draw new audiences into theaters. We set out to engage young males and make it their movie of choice, driving box office sales to put Alien: Covenant at the number 1 spot.
A tricky audience.....
Though the previous film in the series had been a blockbuster success, 5 years had passed since its release, and our fanbase had aged with the franchise. We needed to reignite their interest, and reach a new generation of younger males who may not have seen previous Alien films, but liked the sci-fi thriller/horror genre.
The biggest challenge lay in the behaviors of the target audience. Young males are typically hard to reach with traditional advertising; our insights showed us that they use ad blocking software online, and have very specific media consumption habits weighted towards streaming services and gaming consoles.
To add fuel to the fire, we were also up against it with the time-frame of release. In the busy summer period of blockbuster franchises releases, getting traction and penetrating share of voice with this difficult to reach audience was even harder.
The fear factor.....
To overcome this, it was crucial to mobilize native advertising – enter their environment and encourage engagement by speaking to them through a media form they love - gaming.
Our strategy was to go beyond the typical media formats like video pre-roll, and instead create a memorable stunt with a ‘shock factor’ to mirror the theme of the film.
Knowing that our male target group over-indexes in gaming, we partnered with Twitch, a live video gaming platform. The platform encourages interaction between gamers as they compete or watch their favorite gamers and influencers play games. We worked with key Twitch influencers to stage scary and shocking scenarios disrupting their live streams
The action began with the influencers interacting with their followers as normal. Strange things then started to happen – flickering lights, eerie noises, and disrupted news feeds. The influencers ‘played along’, building anticipation within the viewer before disappearing to ‘investigate’ the disruption. The live-stream then fell black.
Moments of tense silence passed before an alien jumped up on screen to terrify the viewer. And at this crucial moment of total engagement, we served the film’s trailer!
This execution lived on Twitch’s live streams, we also pushed it out socially to expand the reach. Additionally, we had traditional media support throughout the Twitch platform to maximize our presence.
Using native media in this way, to deliver our message at the highest moment of audience attention, meant we hit the highest impact with our film trailer.
Creative thinking combined with a strategy built from audience insight data meant we could execute a campaign that successfully accelerated Fox’s business growth.