Social Media

A Very Happy Hunger Games

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about the now mega popular science fiction movie and book franchise, The Hunger Games. All that hype didn’t fizzle when it came to ticket sales either; The first installment of The Hunger Games went on to make $155 million when it hit theaters last weekend, making it the third highest–grossing opening weekend of all time.

A few factors contributed to the outrageous success of The Hunger Games: it’s based off a popular book series, it had good reviews, and the plot appeals to a wide audience. But a core aspect of the movie’s marketing was carried out through its social media campaign. We aren’t talking about some slapped–together Twitter and Facebook pages, but a year-long, large-scale effort by Lionsgate, as written about in The New York Times, CBS News, and other media outlets. Here are the three core aspects that helped build a crazy amount of anticipation for the film and propel it to a truly colossal opening weekend.

Go Big or Go Home

The movie didn’t just have a Facebook page, but instead had 13 Facebook pages mirroring the districts in the books. The campaign also spread to Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and even an iPhone and Social game. These platforms weren’t just used to distribute generic info about the movie, but had unique twists. For example, a Tumblr page was created to showcase the movie’s eccentric fashions and a YouTube channel took on the theme of a Capitol propaganda network from the movie.

Capitol Couture Tumblr


More than 800,000 excited fans created mock ID cards on the website theCapitol.pn. A Twitter campaign allowed fans to run for mayor of the districts within the fictional country of Panem. Then, the studio cut the movie poster into hundreds of pieces and let fans assemble it like a puzzle. The YouTube channel allowed fans to submit their own videos as “citizen broadcasters.” This made the campaign go beyond merely pushing information out to fans, and helped spread the word as fans then cross-posted videos and multimedia on their personal Facebook and Twitter feeds.

The long haul

Probably the most important feature of the movie’s campaign was how long and thought–out the process was. It started by posting casting news on Facebook, and over the next year, these platforms were used to spread excitement and information. The whole process was detailed and the brand was dedicated to keeping up the momentum and excitement. In other words, they weren’t just making it up as they went along.

So the next time you ask yourself if you need a social strategy, don’t just think of one reason. Think of 155 million of them.

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