The Simpsons Movie has been a long time coming, with fans patiently waiting over the past 18 years, watching the illustrated family become more and more of a cultural phenomenon. Of course, after such a long time and lofty reputation built up, the creators and marketing team were not going to skimp on the yellow family’s jump to the big screen with trailers and billboards alone.
The marketing team at 20th Century Fox Film Corp. has been working overtime to come up with out-of-the-box methods to create buzz around the movie to set off the most effective type of advertising: viral.
Select 7-Elevens across the U.S. are being retrofitted to resemble the Kwik-E-Mart with various food products from the show available for sale in the shop, including the trademark hot-pink sprinkled doughnut. Another tactic is the release of a video on YouTube which depicts a “vandalized” statue of liberty holding a pink doughnut to advertise the upcoming release of the film.
Not that the advertising hasn’t seen its share of controversy. Yet one more event that made news for the film was a painted outline of Homer Simpson in his underwear holding a doughnut on a lawn in the English countryside. However, this outline was put right next to an outline of a pagan fertility god which created a frenzy in the British media and an outcry from the pagan community.
There has been many traditional uses of the online medium such as an interactive film website where you can build your own Simpsons Avatar, and trailers available for view, but the most effective use of the web in marketing for this film has been the tremendous amount of viral communication and coverage of this “publicity stunt” style of advertising. It not really marrying traditional media with the online world but infiltrating the online community for free, from a different angle.
These methods will surely shape how many marketers attack a campaign, and become more of a normative in the advertising world. The inclusion of social networks such as YouTube and stories about the stunts in publications such as AdAge and various blogger sites proves again that the Internet is continuing to grow into a huge resource for advertisers from all genres.