Wonder follows the story of Augie, a young boy with a facial deformities as he starts school. The film features themes of bullying and social presume which made Wonder a challenging entertainment option for families with kids 6-13 as 8 competing films with larger budgets were released concurrently.
We discovered that parents are craving something different from a trip to the movies.
Sometimes they want more than mindless entertainment.
They want something that just might challenge and inspire their children to think about themselves and their world a little differently.
Why bother trying to better understand what influences movie selection?
Isn’t movie release marketing a tried and tested formula?
Well - the 8 releases we were competing against had built-in “reasons to see” - like franchise recognition (Star Wars), bigger budgets (Justice League, Coco), prestige studio brands (Disney), or seasonal relevance (The Star).
In contrast, Wonder’s modest budget and challenging premise risked it falling off the must-see list.
So we spoke to our audience to learn more.
What we found were parents increasingly bemused (and frustrated) by a seemingly endless parade of spectacular – but vacuous - franchise remakes and spin-offs.
Sure, a movie packed with mind-blowing special effects has its place – but they were hungry for different movie experiences to share with their kids.
Something that might just inspire them to see their world with fresh eyes.
A shared experience that just might act as a talking point.
Wonder’s success as a novel came from it’s ability to shift people’s perspectives and create positive social change.
With themes of bullying, self-esteem and social exclusion the movie represented a challenging entertainment option for our Families with kids 6-13.
But we soon learnt this was what we needed to dial up – not dial down!
This was not MOVIE marketing – this was CAUSE marketing.
Our strategy was not to simply extend an invitation to the movies - but to extend an invitation to join a social movement.
In line with its ability to create social change, Wonder the novel inspired a movement called Choose Kind which encouraged people to act with kindness based on the Augie’s story.
This was our way in – our way through the box office clutter.
In an unorthodox move we turned our back on the ever escalating arms race of spectacular or heart wrenching movie trailers – and chose to lead with the Choose Kind movement.
We simply invited our audience to ‘BE A PART OF SOMETHING GOOD’.
Instead of promoting the film, our budget was spent promoting the opportunity to join the movement and do something good.
To do so, we
• Created a choose kind pledge, hosted at choosekind.org.au where our audience could take the pledge to choose to be kind. This was accompanied by a promotion giving away ‘acts of kindness jars’ which allowed users to put a token in a jar every time they did something kind
• To spread the word of the movement in relevant spaces for our family, we first employed an outreach program with schools. Teachers (a key influencers for our kids) were engaged to promote ‘choose kind’ as a message in schools across Australia and NZ
• To engage mums, we ran an integrated sponsored content partnership with Mamamia (a trusted online mothers’ network). The partnership included hosted video and written content, a competition, and utilized the Mamamia podcast, brand ambassadors, and writers to promote the choose kind message and share the pledge.