The third instalment of the Hunger Games film franchise, Mockingjay Part 1, is soon to be released! And with a new film released annually, we’re back with this year’s case study analysis of The Hunger Games digital marketing campaign.
- Growth in digital assets
- List The Hunger Games digital assets
- Katniss vs the Capitol
- The Capitol marketing campaign
- Digital marketing in the visual age
- Any new strings for Katniss’ bow?
- Top takeaways
From our first review, we’ve seen phenomenal growth in the digital marketing assets of the film series, but also a refinement of the digital marketing campaign.
So hold on to your bow and arrow, or camouflage makeup if you’re Peeta, and join us as we delve into the world of One Panem and the digital marketing strategy of The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1.
Growth in digital assets
This is the third year we’ve written a case study on the latest Hunger Games film and we’ve seen their social networks consistently grow year-on-year.
Thanks in part to a consolidation of their Facebook pages, The Hungers Games grew their Facebook page likes by over 85% between the first and second films. They’ve carried this momentum with the launch of the third film and the number of likes has grown by a further 80%.
Such colossal growth is testament to their digital marketing strategy accurately identifying the techniques and ways to engage with their target audience.
Twitter growth has slowed but is still strong – 35% since 2013 and 138% since 2012.
Interestingly, out of three key social channels, Twitter has the lowest number of followers. This most likely reflects Twitter historically not being a visual channel. Although they have made good steps forward with image previews and allowing gifs in Tweets, it still lags behind the visual smorgasbord of Facebook and Google+.
Google+ growth has been slower than Facebook and on a par with Twitter. It has grown 35% year-on-year but the total number of followers is still significantly higher than Twitter.
A multi-channelled digital marketing strategy
In total, for the Mockingjay digital marketing campaign, Lionsgate have no fewer than 16 separate digital assets.
All major search networks are covered and several websites make up the whole strategy.
Across all of their assets, The Hunger Games can boast:
- 22 million Facebook likes
- 1.5 million Twitter followers
- 493,000 YouTube subscribers
- 450,000 Instagram followers
If the Hunger Games digital audience was a country, they’d be the 51st largest country in the world and have a larger population than Australia, Taiwan, Sweden and Zimbabwe to name just a few.
Full list of The Hunger Games digital assets
|Digital asset||Total followers|
|The Hunger Games Homepage||–|
|The Hunger Games Exclusive (digital magazine)||–|
|Capitol TV content||–|
|Capitol Couture Tumblr||–|
|Official Hunger Games game||–|
|Official Hunger Games game Facebook||304,872|
|Official Hunger Games game Twitter||11,400|
Katniss vs. the Capitol
Like the rise of the Mockingjay herself, The Hunger Games boasts a social media presence that even the largest blockbusters could only dream of having.
Very few film franchises have boasted as much social media klout. We’ve taken a look at some of the competitors below to see how the Hunger Games matches up:
Franchise box-office takings
After only two films, The Hunger Games has raked in an astonishing $1.5billion. Although dwarfed by the likes of Harry Potter and Twilight, by the end of the franchise we should see a significantly higher box-office taking.
Franchise Facebook likes
The Hunger Games’ 21 million Facebook likes feels modest in comparison to Harry Potter and Twilight’s reach but if Facebook growth continues at the current rate, we should expect to see a Facebook audience in excess of 35 million likes by the launch of the next movie.
Franchise Twitter followers
Despite Twitter being significantly smaller compared to Facebook and Google+ for The Hunger Games, they have managed to claim a significant amount of followers early on in the franchise’s history.
Again, if Twitter growth continues at its current rate, we predict they will have around 1.75 million followers by the time Mockingjay Part 2 is released – this could mean The Hunger Games will have the largest Twitter following of the five identified film franchises, with still another film to launch.
Capitol marketing campaign
What’s interesting is that they’ve dedicated almost half of their digital marketing collateral to the Capitol (the capital city of Panem – the setting for the Hunger Games world). What’s even more interesting is that the Capitol Marketing Campaign has shifted completely in-line with the narrative of the film.
In the first and second films, the Capitol is yet to fall from grace and *spoilers* the riots and uprising are a possibility but not fact. During the marketing for the first two films, the Capitol was inclusive – participate and join us. By breaking the fourth wall, they were able to create fantastic engagement with ardent fans.
With the third film the Capitol is facing an uprising. Riots are breaking out and mimicking the Capitol in the story, the digital assets belonging to the Capitol Ministries of Information have been re-branded as a faux-propaganda campaign.
Capitol Couture – a jewel in the digital marketing crown of the Hunger Games – has been taken over by One Panem (the official name for the propaganda campaign).
What I love most about this is that it’s breaking the fourth wall and introducing elements of experiential marketing via digital. The Hunger Games have some of the most loyal and passionate fans, by re-creating elements of the Hunger Games for them to experience in the real world reinforces brand loyalty and provides a completely different type of engagement.
Any film can post a still and get likes, but how many films can say they’ve created digital magazines that allow users to suspend their disbelief and imagine they’re actually part of the film’s world?
Digital marketing in the visual age
As mobile devices and mobile Internet becomes more powerful, and broadband speeds increase and become more widely available the importance of visual content has become central to digital marketing campaigns the world over.
Visual content, in all its forms, have become a bedrock for engaging with the social media savvy Generation Y/Z.
The Hunger Games does this extremely well.
The Instagram account is regularly updated – not only with stills and scenes from the film, but posts run the whole gamut of digital marketing engagement:
- Fan of the week posts and user generated content
- Promoted hashtag posts
- Teaser pictures
- Posts from the characters
- Posts of the stars from the films, including press events and premiers
- Additional marketing material
Thus, the Instagram feed isn’t the same content rehashed over and over again, but something new and different.
The use of user generated content is also a highlight, encouraging greater fan loyalty from those featured and spurring on other fans who would love to be “Fan of the Week.”
Fashion for all
One of the striking elements of The Hunger Games universe has always been the visuals. Even from the books you get a vivid portrait of the Capitol – a culture obsessed with aesthetics. Capitol characters undergo extensive cosmetic procedures and wear outlandish costumes in the pursuit of beauty.
From the very first film, this has always been at the forefront of the digital marketing campaign – Effie Trinket has been the poster girl for the fashion elements of the film.
Capitol Couture, a Tumblr profile setup to promote the Capitol’s fashion and user generated content has progressed even further this year.
The Hunger Games have also utilised the latest design technology to push their brand. We originally saw a HTML5 website to promote the first film, which was novel at the time. The latest incarnation of Capitol Couture goes one step further.
The homepage features striking imagery combined with mesmerising HTML5 code to create a digital experience that is unique, engaging and new.
After the homepage, users are once again greeted by large, hihg-quality imagery and everyone’s favourite short animated images, GIFs.
These work extremely well to create a hugely engaging user experience.
Any new strings for Katniss’ bow?
By now, in its third year, The Hunger Games digital marketing campaign pretty much covers all bases. However, there are always new trends and new ways to engage with your audience.
This year, as part of the One Panem fictious propaganda campaign, the Capitol has launched a range of videos in the form of Capitol TV. In order to keep the peace (and not always at the hand of a gruff Peacekeeper), President Snow has launched a number of short videos promoting the benefits of the Capitol and its guard.
From videos highlighting the Peacekeeper’s martial arts prowess to a genuine baking tutorial on making some treats from Peeta Mellark’s bakery, the videos again break the fourth wall and give the audience a far more direct engagement to the world of The Hunger Games.
In a canny strategy for increasing your digital marketing reach, they’ve teamed up with several popular YouTube channels to create the videos. These channels have their own subscribers who may not be fans of The Hunger Games already. Thus, they get a high quality video presented by real-world thought leaders and each video gets promoted across two channels.
In total, the YouTube channels that they’ve collaborated with have a total of 5,127,973 subscribers – dwarfing The Hunger Games’ own reach of 495,577 subscribers.
Top takeaways from The Hunger Games digital marketing strategy
Broadly speaking, I’m taking away three trends from the Mockingjay digital marketing strategy. Specifically:
- Create a narrative
- Engage with visual content
- Invest in your digital strategy
Create a narrative
Narrative is often an area that brands or companies overlook. What is the story behind your digital marketing campaign? Ultimately, what do you want people to buy?
In recent years we have seen the likes of John Lewis do this fantastically well – their 2014 Christmas campaign, Monty the Penguin, isn’t explicitly about shopping at John Lewis. Yet the narrative that they create engages with a large audience, creating the holy trinity of brand exposure, engagement and loyalty.
Customers are becoming increasingly savvy and whilst price will consistently be a purchasing factor, we have also seen those companies investing in customer service and also creating a story.
Engage with visual content
Visual content is undoubtedly the most engaging. The rise of Buzzfeed and social networks like Instagram and Vine perfectly reflect the hunger to devour content in visual media.
This isn’t to say written content is no longer engaging or worthwhile, but visual content can, in many industries, be the differentiator.
Invest in your digital strategy
Ultimately, the most important thing to stress is that doing digital marketing half-heartedly will expose your weaknesses.
Having rubbish content, not investing in engagement with your users or failing to understand how your followers want to be interacted with, can have severely negative consequences for your brand perception and impede digital growth.
Investing in a large, integrated and multi-channelled digital marketing approach will pay dividends for a variety of business objectives and a well-targeted content marketing strategy plays a significant part of this. Say firstname.lastname@example.org to start your digital marketing today!