The social media strategist behind The Hunger Games’ elaborately planned campaign tells Fast Company how Lionsgate turned an online fanbase into box office success.
The success of The Hunger Games wasn’t exactly a long shot. But then, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion either (see: the performance of best seller-turned-box-office-disappointment The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). An elaborate and ongoing social media campaign, orchestrated by Lionsgate and agency Ignition, helped turn a strong bet into a blockbuster – the film has earned more than $450 million at the box office worldwide so far.
Lionsgate’s senior vice president for digital marketing Danielle DePalma saw early on how social media could be the backbone of Hunger Games marketing and would be the best route to engaging fans in a meaningful and cost-effective way. One key: assigning a separate hashtag to each campaign event. “Those really helped us trend because each one of those milestones had its own identity and helped it to spread so easily,” says DePalma, who, at 29, has overseen innovative web campaigns for such films as Saw, Kick-Ass, and The Expendables.
The social media campaign could not have succeeded without solid creative or a masterful overall campaign, helmed by Lionsgate’s chief marketing officer Tim Palen, which included an offline strategy overseen by senior vice president of media and research Erika Schimik.
DePalma, the social media strategist behind The Hunger Games’ elaborately planned campaign, explains how Lionsgate turned an online fanbase into box office success.