Wisdom.Applied Wednesday: Branding a Blockbuster

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New movies hit theaters every weekend, so who’s to say which films are bombs and which are blockbusters?

Obviously, promotion, casting, budget and content (if you don’t have a story or a big name, what’s putting butts in the seats?), play factors, but are promotions really that different from one film to the next? Occasionally, films will release ingenious campaigns like the studio did for 2013′s Carrie, but for the most part films look like the same old, same old. So how do films break away from the clutter? 

Last week, the comedy Neighbors hit theaters, becoming the highest grossing film of the weekend. Out performing films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Other WomanNeighbors took in $49.033,915 at the box office last weekend. This Wisdom.Applied Wednesday, Let’s take a look at a few key methods and mediums the film’s team used when promoting the film.


The film’s website is hosted on a highly-customized Tumblr blog. Taking advantage of Tumblr’s newly available sponsored posts, Neighbors gained attention and traction within the Tumblr community. A few of the film’s posts have gained tens of thousands of notes, showing the high level of engagement with consumers within the target demographic of the film. Hosting the films website on Tumblr lends the film to prime social networking while also maintaining a high quality website.

Public Events/Star power

Zac Efron’s star power was unleashed at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards, where his shirt was ripped off. He charmingly went along with it, and modeled his Neighbors body, and almost immediately the moment went viral across social media channels. His costars later joined him on the MTV Movie Awards stage serving up kisses to three lucky fans (and in case you were still wondering, none of them were Seth Rogan’s actual mom).

Talk Shows

Stars of the show made appearances on various talk shows and made themselves available for interview by such publications as Time Magazine and Today. Jimmy Fallon interviewed  Efron on The Tonight Show; Fallon,  Efron and Seth Rogan performed a skit modeled after “Ew!” from Teen Nick. The clip has over six million views on YouTube.


The film released many promotional materials that were very traditional as well. Trailers, television ads, being featured in podcasts from popular publications such as The Village Voice were also successful methods of promotion as well.

So, there’s the mix (at least for one box office blockbuster).

Have you seen Neighbors? If so, how’d you hear about the film?

Cover Photo Source: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Mary is an Assistant Account Executive at SJG. She earned her BA in Communication from the University of Evansville in 2013. In her spare time, when she’s not engulfing novels in a coffee shop, Mary feels most at home celebrating life and love with her family and friends, and visiting the streets of Paris in her dreams.