Marketing the end of the world

Creatively marketing 'Day the Earth Stood Still'

How do you promote the end of the world?

That was the question facing 20th Century Fox as the studio pondered the marketing plan for “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” In addition to the usual print and broadcast ads, film trailers and website, Fox wanted to create a global online participation campaign to fully engage the film’s target audience.

So in conjunction with agency Moxie Interactive, Fox developed an online community called Earth’s Vital List that launched a month before the film’s mid-December, multiterritory release. The campaign used seven global social networks — including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Netlog — and 10 languages.

Earth’s Vital List posed the question: What would you save if the world was coming to an end? “Moxie came up with the very innovative idea,” says Hilary Hattenbach, Fox VP of domestic digital marketing. “We made it a global campaign.”

In addition to promoting the film, the Vital List campaign also yielded metrics. “We were able to see how many people installed the application, how many used it, and how many items people were putting on it,” says Kris Zagoria, Moxie Interactive founder-CEO. “We could determine whether they were looking at the application first and the trailer afterward, or vice versa. We tracked their engagement.”

And as participants created their “vital lists,” they shared them with friends, encouraging additional votes and feedback, while further promoting the film.

What did people want to save? In the U.S., the No. 1 item was vidgame “Halo 3.” The Bible, beer and boobs were in the top 10. In India the top item was the Taj Mahal. Other favorites: Mexicans wanted to save women, and in Spain they wanted to keep Johnny Depp.

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