In Hollywood, when you have a bestselling novel like "The Hunger Games," it's easy to spend like a drunken sailor and plunk down big bucks for a traditional media buy. But that's not what Lionsgate did. Instead, the small studio got smart with its marketing dollars, putting a big bet on a long-running campaign social media campaign. With an estimated $386 million in box office, the campaign clearly worked. But as PaidContent pointed out, the studio may have "created a new template" for movie marketing.
Rather than paying for social media buzz on Facebook and Twitter, and then using those platforms to push digital assets, Lionsgate went in the opposite direction. The studio's marketing team put its focus on creating a truly impressive interactive tour of The Capital, a key location in both the film and the book.
Detractors may point out that Lionsgate, as a so-called "mini-major," didn't have the $100 million-plus most studios spend to market a blockbuster, and therefore fell back on a less expensive digital strategy that leveraged an already successful book property. That criticism ignores the fact that the studio still had to execute. Had the initial social media pitch failed to hook fans -- or worse, if the virtual tour had been a dud -- Lionsgate would have effectively been throwing cold water on the film's core audience. Instead, the studio found a way to build and sustain buzz for a long-anticipated property.