Love this promotional campaign:
Starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, it’s a science fiction Western film about a loner who wakes up in a strange city with no memory from his past, only to find that he is a wanted criminal. After the area is invaded by aliens, friends and foes have to work together to save the city — and the earth — from extraterrestrial enemies.
Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau directed the film and played a large role in helping to develop the social media and digital campaign for this unique title.
Let’s take a look at some of the digital and social parts of the campaign.
The official Facebook Page for Cowboys & Aliens has more than 200,000 Likes thus far. Universal Pictures has employed a tactic we’ve seen with Captain America and Harry Potter (and most other major films) in creating a widget that functions as a cross-channel hub, linking to the film’s other social and digital channels in a single box.
In this way, the Facebook Page acts as a mini version of the official homepage for the film.
In addition to a Facebook Page, Universal and DreamWorks have also launched two online games for the film:
Cowboys & Aliens Arcade is a Facebook game that includes scenes from the film along with puzzle and trivia challenges. Players can also enter to win official prizes.
Cowboys & Aliens Absolution Training Grounds is a more complex (both in terms of visuals and intensity) shoot-em-up-style game that can be enhanced with Facebook Connect, but doesn’t require it.
Although the studios have set up an official @cowboysaliens Twitter account, it isn’t the primary driver of Twitter activity for the film. Instead, the marketing teams have leveraged the personal account of the film’s director, Jon Favreau, who already has a Twitter following of more than a million.
In the buildup to the film’s release, Favreau has tweeted links to articles, interviews, behind-the-scenes insights and more. The official Cowboys & Aliens account frequently retweets Favreau’s updates and, in turn, Favreau re-shares the best bits from the official account.
Even in official press statements, Universal points fans to Jon Favreau’s account in addition to its own — a smart move. After all, if you have a director with an engaged and active fanbase, why not use that person as the primary driver for your film?
Hipstamatic Lens Kit
One of our favorite iPhone apps, Hipstamatic, launched its own FreePak tie-in for Cowboys & Aliens.
Until August 8, Hipstamatic users can download the Cowboys & Aliens HipstaPak, which includes two new lenses and a camera case, for free. In typical Hipstamatic style, extreme detail went into the design of the lenses.
On its Facebook Page, Hipstamatic says that both the film’s cinematographer Matthew Libatique and director Jon Favreau contributed to its development.
“Cowboys & Aliens” Coca-Cola Round Up for iPhone, iPad and Android
We have to give the marketing team at Cowboys & Aliens credit because the Cowboys & Aliens Coca-Cola Round Up app for iOS and Android is one of the more intricate tie-in apps we’ve seen.
This is an augmented reality game in which Coca-Cola triggers are captured on specially marked cups and popcorn bags at AMC and Regal theaters in the U.S. Users can also download a print trigger to play the game. After that, it’s a bottle collection game.
This is an interesting use of augmented reality and QR-like functionality that encourage play while simultaneously cross-promoting two different properties: the film and Coca-Cola.
Cowboys & Aliens has been a trending topic on Twitter in the days leading up to the film, suggesting that the film already has strong awareness among targeted audiences.
We’ll have to wait for the weekend box office figures to see how the film performed against the competition.
What do you think of the mobile-centric approach Universal took when promoting Cowboys & Aliens? Let us know in the comments section below.