The marketing team for the Hunger Games series is doing everything right. They have an awesome Tumblr account, they set up alternate reality games for the movie, and they’re active on social media. And unlike most brands, they’ve tapped into a huge source of free publicity: fansites.
Generally huge entertainment brands for books or movies tend to shy away from fansites. However Scholastic, Lionsgate, and other Hunger Games partners know that their fans hang out on these fansites. Connecting with these fans puts their product one step closer to the people who will actually buy it.
In the months leading up to the first movie premiere in March 2012, Lionsgate and Scholastic stayed in contact with the fansites to help squash rumors and release information. But with all of the Hunger Games books published and the next movie not due in theaters until November 2013, there’s a lull in news.
So where to turn? To the fansites.
And what to promote? A Facebook game: The Hunger Games Adventures.
During the Christmas season Lionsgate partnered with 12 fansites for their “Hunger Games 12 Days of Christmas” promotion. It consisted of two parts: a DVD and book giveaway, and exclusive content for their Facebook game.
For the merchandise giveaway, Lionsgate gave each of the 12 fansites 5 copies of The Hunger Games on DVD and 5 copies of the second book in the trilogy, Catching Fire. Fansites were allowed to give the prizes away however they saw fit.
The Hunger Games Adventures (a quest-based social game) launched the “The Twelve Days of Questmas” as the other half of the promotion. In addition to a special in-game Christmas-themed quest, the game developers handed out special codes to the 12 fansites.
Players of the game had to visit the Facebook fan page each day for twelve consecutive days to find links to different fansites.
They would accompany the pictures with links to the fansite. When you clicked over, you would be presented with a post containing the DVD/book giveaway. Another link, when clicked, unlocked exclusive digital content for the Facebook game.
Here was part of the post from fansite The Hob:
So why was this a brilliant promotion?
The cost was extremely low for Lionsgate. All they had to provide was 60 books, 60 DVDs, and some design time on the virtual goods. But since they handed the giveaway duties to the fansites, they didn’t have to spend the time organizing the giveaway.
It was also a win-win-win giveaway. Every party involved benefited from the promotion.
For the fansites:
- Rewarded loyal readers by giving them first access to exclusive content and giveaways
- Content and giveaway increased traffic to their sites
- Grabbed new readers in their target audience
- Increased marketing buzz and word-of-mouth during a slow period of news
- Renewed interest in upcoming movie
- 12 days of playing the Facebook game may convert to more daily players
- Renew loyalties with both fansites and fans
- Chance to win merchandise from a well-loved brand
- Access to fun, exclusive, seasonal content to customize their Facebook game
I don’t have many numbers in terms of entries, conversions, or new daily players, but the Hunger Games Adventures seems to think it was a success.
The marketing team behind the Hunger Games has shown that you don’t have to throw a huge, complicated, expensive promotion to generate a lot of buzz about your products. All you need to do is partner with another brand who already has the audience and customers you want.
Have you followed any of the Hunger Games marketing? Have you ever played the Facebook game? Any other examples of brands partnering up with their fansites to deliver an awesome promotion like this?