The Hunger Games, based on the book by Suzanne Collins, looks set to be among the biggest, if not THE biggest movie of 2012. One of the reasons for this is the manner in which Lionsgate built the social media around the movie and created hype through empowerment of advocates.
Teaser trailers are great and the one released at the MTV VMA’s was followed up with a building of anticipation. From the hastag at the end for #whatsmydistrict, which led people to look for a hidden site, this strategy did everything correctly. When the site was found, people could only make out a faded version, though this became clearer over the next 12 days. This drummed up enthusiasm and interest in the movie right across the web.
People could become ‘mayor of their district’ on Facebook by linking to a URL from the movie trailer released on iTunes. Influential sharers of the trailers then got prizes. Some of these received t-shirts and other goodies for their sharing. This was the perfect way to drum up ‘real’ fans enthusiasm through the offering of something unique. Those with the most influence were the ones to receive the prizes and are the ones best in position to spread the word.
Twitter hastags were used to unlock cities and consequently free tickets to advance screenings. Fans had to tweet hastags related to their cities, i.e. #hungergamesNY for New York. The top four cities each day became unlocked, however the hashtag trended in most cities and attracted attention.
By creating such excitement and using the @CapitolPN account as the means to distribute all content and prizes, fans became responsive and engaged with one place and so spread the excitement from there.
The site is all part of the ‘gamification’ and includes some great features that add a personal element, after you sign on or undergo ‘citizen registration’. Users are given their own local district and provided with information about that such as the number of registered citizens, discussion rate per area and other relevant information to your location. This prompts fans to stay engaged and beat the other districts. Tumblr was even brought in on the act and offers things such as ‘citizens’ style tips’ , as well as prompting people to engage through upload of their own content. For example people were asked to design their own shoes for Hunger Games events as a District Challenge.
There is now a facebook social game app on the horizon and though not out, it is soon set to undergo a beta release for the lucky few. This has engaged thousands and is a fine example of the continuing speculation and curiosity that has driven this huge success story.