Create an innovative campaign to promote the new ‘War for The Planet Of The Apes’ movie, to older audiences (who grew up with the original) and retain the 16-34 year old audience. Increase box office ticket sales and send the Apes franchise off with a bang.
‘War’ is the final film of a 3-part reboot for the Planet Of The Apes. As with all movie franchises, the later films bring a number of additional challenges - maintaining interest amongst film fans, enticing lapsed audiences and attracting a continual flow of new fans to the latest film.
The first thing we needed was to differentiate the new ‘War’ film from the previous two - ‘Dawn’ and ‘Rise’, so as well as a franchise movie it stood up on its own as a major box-office attraction.
We decided to research the nature of war to help us develop our campaign. We found that in a democratic society, we’re constantly faced with choosing sides (including when it comes to war) and that people are scared of choosing the wrong side.
This information along with our insights from our previous social media campaigns for the first two movies, (where we discovered that the majority of viewers sided with the Apes), pointed to the dilemma that our audience would face during the film. In the final showdown with the Apes, when the human race faces extinction, we knew many viewers would still side with the Apes, bringing about feelings of uncertainty and indecision.
This valuable snapshot into the human psyche gave us the perfect strategic opportunity to exploit these feelings. By ‘seeding’ indecision in peoples’ minds about which side they might choose, we could encourage them to watch the film to find out who they would ultimately end up siding with
Our campaign strategy centred on the idea of ‘A Battle For The Mind’. We wanted to tell both sides of the story, build empathy for both narratives and then pose a question to audiences to get them thinking about who’s side they might take in the war. Our aim was to leave them feeling torn, which would help drive them to watch the movie to find out which side they would end up rooting for.
To help us define and develop the campaign, our research into military strategy highlighted how wars are fought on two fronts - on the battlefield, and perhaps even more importantly – winning the hearts and minds of supporters. The propaganda battle has always been central to modern warfare.
This led us to develop the heart of our campaign – a propaganda war between Humans and Apes. We set about finding ways to produce and distribute propaganda that would present both opposing views equally.
To help do this, we came up with a truly off-the-wall creative concept that would pit two real-life media giants - ITV and Channel 4 against one another in our propaganda ‘War’, and we brokered this media first collaboration between the arch rivals.
This campaign could only have achieved the success it did through two of the most competitive media owner TV channels in the UK, collaborating and working together to make this campaign happen. This was the first-time ITV and Channel 4 had ever collaborated on a campaign, and even more shocking was the fact that each channel happily encouraged their own viewers to switch over to their rival’s channel, to view the opposing ad.
For the first time ever, we managed to get ITV & Channel 4 to agree to simulcast two opposing ad-break takeovers, while offering their own viewers the opportunity to switch sides to see the opposing narrative.
The ads aired simultaneously in the 9pm Saturday Night film slots across both channels. ITV ran the Human propaganda first-in-break during their screening of the James Bond Skyfall movie, while C4 countered by favouring the Apes during their screening of Bridesmaids. The ads successfully seeded indecision in the minds of audiences and made them think more deeply about ‘War’, than any traditional TV ad might otherwise have done. Channel 4 went a step further by challenging audiences through social media, to make a choice between the Humans and the Apes, and drive more people to the TV ads.
These strategic ad placements also helped promote the film to a wider (Bridesmaids viewing) audience that wouldn’t normally entertain watching Planet of The Apes. We also managed to promote the film to Skyfall viewers - our perfect target demographic for the franchise.
The accompanying digital marketing campaign ran on mobile and online, with targeted YouTube ads and mobile pop ups aimed at segmented audiences (depending on which video or previous campaign creative they had opted to watch), to push different consumers to either the Human or Ape focused narrative. Individuals who had already viewed ‘Ape’ content were directed to the opposing ‘Human’ focused ads, with a call to action for them to ‘pick a side’.