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With the exception of seismic successes like the Star Wars or Harry Potter franchises, Hollywood can’t always bank on moviegoers turning out for a sequel— especially a third installment.
So to promote the theatrical release last November of the thriller Paranormal Activity 3, Paramount Pictures and its agency MEC North America devised a memorable strategy that spoke to one of our greatest fears today: the loss of mobile service.
The agency collaborated with Yahoo to bring to life a fake news story about a nationwide cellular outage. Yahoo Mobile users were teased with an alert before the “urgent report” took over the screen.
After a moment, static briefly engulfed their phones’ Web browsers, after which an ad for the flick came into focus.
The promo ran across Yahoo Mobile’s front page as well as its sports and Messenger sections for three days in late October, enjoying an 8 percent click- through rate and 12 million impressions.
The program helped to push Paranormal Activity 3 to the No. 1 position at the box office.
“With this campaign, we took users out of their comfort zone,” says MEC communications director Courtney Renaud. “It was completely unexpected, which is exactly how the movie horrifies its fans.” —Christopher Heine
Illustration: Carlos Monteiro
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