October 8, 2013

Watch 'Carrie' Marketing Scare the Hell Out of Coffee Shop Patrons

carrie telekinetic coffee shop prank viral marketingHow do you make a remake of a classic horror film fresh? How do you shock a jaded audience? You take the most frightening concepts of the film and make them happen in real life. The marketing team behind the remake of Carrie approached the viral marketing folks at Thinkmodo to help them scare the hell out of some New Yorkers just looking for a caffeine fix. Check out the viral marketing video by Thinkmodo as they bring telekinesis to life in a coffee shop in front of unsuspecting customers and see how they did it.

Thinkmodo has a track record for unique viral marketing campaigns, from zombies taking over NYC in protest of Dish Network dropping AMC, thereby cutting audiences off from The Walking Dead, to flying people over the Big Apple to promote the film Chronicle. What makes their viral marketing so impressive isn't just the number of hits on YouTube, or even the hundreds of thousands of shares on Facebook, but rather the TV news coverage these viral videos get. That's free TV advertising, masquerading as news stories -- just like someone in the comments will certainly point out that this post could be considered free advertising instead of a legitimate NFS post.

Why Experiential Viral Marketing Should Matter to Filmmakers

So, let's make this post more than just a repost of viral video and talk about why this type of marketing should matter to filmmakers. The potential audience for any film is completely fragmented. The proliferation of handheld screens and the blurring of traditional release windows means audiences can choose to skip the theatre altogether because they know they can find content to watch right now on the device in their pocket or on the big screen TV at home (which is always in focus, I might add.)

Filmmakers need to think about not just the story they are trying to tell in their film, but how they plan to bring an audience to their film. Personally, I'm not seeking out trailers for Carrie, or even watching TV where ads for the film may appear. But I'm certainly intrigued when a friend posts a video on Facebook about a telekinetic coffee shop prank that looks eerily familiar. Traditional marketing methods for Carrie really aren't going to reach me, but this viral video will. And when it starts to appear on news broadcasts, you know the marketers for Carrie have certainly broadened their reach beyond traditional outlets.

But does it work? We'll have to wait and see if audiences flock to the theatres to see Carrie, and we may never know if they went to the movie, because of this viral prank. Thinkmodo will point to the number one box office opening for Chronicle and take credit for their work to get people to buy tickets.

More than anything, though, I think marketing tactics like the telekinetic coffee shop prank should make filmmakers think about how they are pushing their stories beyond the boundaries of their own films and into the world at large to generate that all-important word of mouth. Certainly, gimmicks like this viral video won't work for every project, but filmmakers -- especially DIY filmmakers without the support of large marketing budgets -- should flex their creative muscles to put their own unique spin on a marketing campaign to build their audiences and get them to see their movies. And remember, building the audience starts before the movie is even made.

What do you think of the Carrie telekinetic viral marketing video -- gimmick or genius? How do you think DIY filmmakers should use viral marketing or other tools to build awareness around their own projects? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

[via Instinct Magazine]

Your Comment

19 Comments

Pretty well executed, but won't make me see the film.

October 8, 2013 at 11:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

Personally I would use a method like this to spark interest, then actually tag along at least 10 or 20 seconds of trailer afterwards, or link elsewhere. As a stand alone, it's nice but I still don't know what its really about.

October 9, 2013 at 12:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

Actually, it makes me want to see Akira instead. I think I'll do that right now.

October 9, 2013 at 12:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fumbles

very well good sir, wish granted!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn9tvnldTKs

October 10, 2013 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Good production, hacky edit, every single person on camera is an actor.

October 9, 2013 at 1:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dav

This should have been a 20-30 second clip...instead we've got to see it 5 times...and not in a good way.

October 9, 2013 at 5:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Raphael

Very very silly/

October 9, 2013 at 5:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Natt

With the excellent Chloë Grace Moretz from "Kick Ass" and "Let Me In" playing Carrie and the director Kimberly Peirce, who has a knack for telling stories about complex female characters and outcasts like in her breakout film "Boys Don't Cry". I'm definitely interested in seeing this remake of the classic De Palma film.

October 9, 2013 at 8:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Markus

Who sprayed chocolate syrup on the girl in the image?

October 9, 2013 at 8:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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This is a great marketing effort but in looking at the video the production cost requires a substantial ($$$$) budget. It would be interesting to know the return. Just because the video is viral there is no assurance that people will go see the movie. I wouldn't because the original Carrie is such a classic and re-makes often are not as good as the original and rely on visual effects too much.

October 9, 2013 at 10:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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substantial budget? the production value of this is on par with punk'd.

17 million impressions in two days day - likely to be 30 or 40 million by the time the film runs its course - is worth an incredible amount of money from a marketing perspective. this campaign would be considered a smashing success by any standard.

October 9, 2013 at 12:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dv

Um, exactly! How much do you think that traditional marketing campaigns cost? Ad space is expensive & gets about 1/100 the exposure of this. Say this gets 6 million unique views. That's Super Bowl audience territory for about $50-75K (once you include the agency's fees). That's considered a bargain in the marketing world.

BTW, marketing is a numbers game. They don't think this will make everyone see the film, but expose 6 million people to the idea & 1/10th (600,000) now go... That's another $6 million this film just made it probably wouldn't have otherwise. That's about 100x R.O.I. Try to make that in the stock market.

October 10, 2013 at 9:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mark

I'd rather see THAT as a movie then the one their promoting.

October 9, 2013 at 1:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dimdo

To paraphrase an old joke...

How many NFS readers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

500. One to screw it in and 499 to comment on how they could've done it better.

October 9, 2013 at 1:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Brian

I think this too. I read a lot of articles on this site, but man, do I ever try not to read the comments! All the hate thrown around feels like a bunch of production assistants got together on their night out. So much negativity, with no understanding of how the world actually works.

October 10, 2013 at 9:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mark

Seems more likely that EVERYONE in this skit was an actor. Too much liability for business owners to agree to stage such a high impact event with lots of potential for injury/lawsuits.

October 10, 2013 at 4:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hale

Sigh.....

October 10, 2013 at 10:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dheep'

A great viral campaign, we are brainstorming for a viral campaign like this for a dutch movie at the moment! Thanks for the inspiration!

October 30, 2013 at 7:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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This was a great stunt! Brilliant marketing idea! We also cover this on our blog: http://www.ronntorossianupdate.com/carrie-advertisement-is-awesome-pr

October 31, 2013 at 11:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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PRfan