Fifty Shades of Marketing

Published on July 25, 2014

50 Shades of Marketing
Whether or not you’ve read enough E.L. James to become intimately familiar with Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, chances are by now you’ve seen the 2 minutes and 34 seconds of steam, tension and passion in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer that made its rounds on the Internet yesterday after its release on The Today Show. While fans everywhere are caught up in the midst of Fifty Shades hysteria, there are a few lessons from the movie’s marketing campaign that prove that the right tactics strategically executed can heat up any communications strategy. Constantly, but Don’t Excessively, Reach Your Audience The Fifty Shades of Grey movie won’t be released for another seven months (February 14, 2015 – Valentine’s Day), but that doesn’t mean the studios haven’t been reminding us of the movie’s pending release for several months now. It’s been a slow, continual stream of teasers and updates leading up to yesterday’s trailer, from the announcement of the movie leads (later altered) to Entertainment Weekly's publishing of the movie’s first character photos to the first release of on-set photos – all of which occurred more than a year before the movie hits theaters. Yesterday’s trailer was accompanied by a media tour much smaller that what we can expect to see come February. This is the perfect example of the importance of reminding your key audiences of the smaller milestones you achieve leading up to a big product launch or corporate announcement. Especially for some of the smaller companies we work with who don’t necessarily have major announcements coming out every week, we work to showcase their other accomplishments along the way through pieces of thought leadership and regularly updated web content. Find the Perfect Brand Ambassador Perhaps one of the most frenzied teasers for the Fifty Shades movie, to the tune of “Uh Oh, Uh Oh, Uh Oh, Oh No No,” came in the form of a shortened trailer megastar Beyoncé posted via Instagram (a slower version of her hit “Crazy in Love.”) The strategic partnership between the Fifty Shades movie and Beyoncé makes sense on both ends. It’s a logical extension of Bey’s brand (think “Drunk in Love”) and by adding the heavyweight presence of one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People to the Fifty Shades movie, this gives the movie an added layer of legitimacy in reaction to some public mocking it has faced in the past. When looking for brand ambassadors it’s important for companies to select individuals that will expose them to a wider audience and enhance their reputation, but another equally as important part of the selection process is to consider what your brand gives to your ambassador besides a paycheck. A truly successful partnership should be mutually beneficial in more ways than one. Create Interactive Experiences Following the release of the Fifty Shades trailer, Universal Studios announced the Grey Enterprises Internship Program, which gives fans a chance to intern for Grey Enterprises Holdings where they “will be asked to complete tasks to earn rewards and unlock exclusive Fifty Shades of Grey content." While this type of interactive tactic can be especially successful for consumer brands, it’s not limited to the consumer experience only. In the same way we’re seeing trends like gamification gain traction at the enterprise B2B level, we’re also seeing a desire for more interactive engagement from the B2B IT buying audience. We’ve found that interactive websites that plug into SEO and social campaigns can successfully support media tours and branding initiatives. While interactive infographics can be a good way to engage with audiences, we’re also finding more and more that videos and other interactive visual content are great vehicles to create new levels of interactivity within a campaign. Consider the Wow Factor The ever illusive wow factor – it’s one of those intangible assets that define your marketing campaign. All of the Fifty Shades teasers and interactive promotions culminated in the release of a trailer that spread like wildfire on social media and was picked up by every major media organization within 24 hours. I mean, if a movie trailer that’s too hot for morning television doesn’t get people talking, what will?



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