United States of America
Sony Pictures Entertainment – Spider-Man: Homecoming
Convert interest for Spider-Man: Homecoming through resurfacing what people love about Spider-Man while explaining what is new and different about THIS film.
Produce stand-out content, tailored specifically to a large-scale environment (the NBA Finals) and become part of pop-culture in real-time.
Open #1 at the box office.
Everyone loves your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man! He has been deemed the most popular Marvel superhero by both Marvel and IGN. However, there have been five Spider-Man movies since 2002, with two different actors playing the hero, and fans were feeling fatigued. We had to change that!
After the introduction of the newest Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, fans were clamoring for his standalone film. However, Spider-Man: Homecoming is not a reboot or an origin story; It is an all new take. For the first time ever, this Spider-Man film would take place in the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU), bringing him together with superheroes such as Iron Man and Captain America.
Awareness and excitement for Spider-Man: Homecoming was very high, but fans had set the bar even higher and we risked letting them down.
Our first challenge was to live up to the Spider-Man hype by giving fans a fresh and unexpected glimpse into Spider-Man’s life.
At the time of the domestic campaign, nothing would drive more hype than the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals. Data told us this sporting event over-indexes on core Marvel fans and mainstream audiences. However, the NBA Finals are also a hot commodity for all movie studios. There were a total of nine movies that ran trailers in the NBA Finals.
Our second challenge was to stand out amongst the many trailers being shown during the Finals.
Today, movie studios release three or more trailers for their films. These trailers help build anticipation and awareness, but can give away too much of the movie. Social listening told us providing audiences with too much film content can lead to negative sentiment. Core fans want to be surprised when they see the movie.
Knowing this, we created a completely new storyline. One that embraced what audiences love about Spider-Man, showed his new connection to the MCU, built hype outside the traditional film trailer format and organically connected to the NBA Finals.
We also wanted to inject a real-time element, providing a greater connection to fans in the environment they were watching, and helping to make Spider-Man part of the current zeitgeist.
Our strategy was to bring Spider-Man into the conversation of the moment within the biggest media stage of the moment in the U.S. – the NBA Finals.
The strategy had three core elements:
- A storyline showing what Spider-Man is doing RIGHT NOW
- Influencers of the moment to help us spread the word to fans
- Technology that enabled the content to reflect what was happening in the game in real-time
The storyline created and the influencers selected had to speak to the mainstream NBA audience and core Marvel fans. This perfect blend of worlds resulted in a narrative that followed Peter Parker / Spider-Man on his mission to attend a NBA Finals party thrown by his mentor, Tony Stark. While attempting to get to the party, Spider-Man runs into several humorous obstacles, giving audiences a peek into his teenage personality and his relationship with other characters. We broke this story into four parts, which played out over five NBA Finals games - first rooted in TV airings and then extending across multiple platforms.
We began with a tune-in setting up the overall creative premise –Stark was hosting a Finals party and invites Spider-Man; this drove viewers to continue watching the Finals to see what happens.
Throughout the Finals, we premiered new content, continuing the story first on TV, and then online.
To make our content feel like it was happening in real-time, live highlights from the game were inserted into TV screens within the in-game spots, a first-to-market. Spider-Man acknowledged these highlights while on his mission, putting him right in the NBA action with audiences. When Steph Curry made a 3-point shot before the commercial break, Spider-Man was witnessing it in real-time within the content!
We also showcased how cool Spider-Man is by depicting him as more popular than the iconic record producer, DJ Khaled. Spider-Man runs into Khaled at a market and two beautiful ladies ask for a picture…with Spider-Man, over Khaled! Even the notable Stan Lee (writer, former Marvel exec, and king of Marvel cameos), recognized Spider-Man. To complete Spider-Man’s mission, we ended with him finally arriving to the party, complete with NBA legends Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan.
To add to the real-time element of the creative, we had talent post exclusive content to their social handles timed to each spot’s debut on TV. This made it feel as though the talent had just encountered Spider-Man moments before in real life. DJ Khaled shockingly described his run-in with Spider-Man on social media directly after seeing him.
Content Awards - Supporting Content
Lead Media Agency
ESPN/ABC (The Walt Disney Company)
ESPN CreativeWorks, NBA (League), Marvel Studios, Park Pictures, Ignition Creative, Method Studios