Hunger Games Marketing: Why Social Media Counts

The Hunger GamesThere’s hardly anyone who doesn’t know about Katniss, Panem, and what it means to be a “tribute.” For the few who may not know, Katniss is the fierce heroine of “The Hunger Games,” Panem, the dystopian post-modern U.S. where her story takes place, and “tributes” are selected in a yearly “reaping” to compete in to-the-death combat. AKA “The Hunger Games.”

If you had somehow managed to avoid talk of the The Hunger Games before, you certainly won’t be able to now: the movie brought in $155 million in its first weekend at the box office.

But the film’s marketing campaign, centered around social media platforms dominated by younger audiences, had a relatively small budget. And now The Hunger Games has more than 3 million followers on Facebook, 300,000 followers on Twitter, and Tumblr blogs like are blowing up. The official red carpet premiere was live streamed on Yahoo!, and trailers on YouTube have received millions of views. Oh, and there are iPhone apps too. (Yes, pull out your phone now.)

So how did they do it? Check out this New York Times article about how they slowly built excitement for the movie up to a fevered pitch in the months before its release, and how the digital campaign pulled off the ultimate marketer’s trick: “persuading fans to persuade each other.”

Now my question for you is, do you think the cinematic storytelling lived up to the book and the digital media hype? Did the marketer’s sell this story, or did the story sell itself?

P.S. – The movie has been driving up Hunger Games book sales too. In fact, a friend of mine called the movie “one long trailer for the book,” and I have to say I agree. So go read it!


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