Superheroes, Models and Lobsters: The 10 Most Memorable Movie Campaigns of 2016

The year's best use of platforms, tactics and simply cool creative

We've come to the end of another year, friends. Which means it's time to look back and evaluate what happened in the movie marketing world over the past 12 months.

There were a number of notable trends this year when it came to marketing Hollywood's latest releases. There was, of course, a heavy reliance on nostalgia, as studios pulled out titles that hadn't been touched for over a decade, like Independence Day, Bridget Jones and others for "legacy sequels" that hoped to rekindle some of that old magic. And superheroes continued to be available regularly, with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Doctor Strange and other costumed choices at the box office.

It was also a year when a few trends started to solidify in terms of platforms and tactics. Studios are regularly hosting Facebook Q&As with stars in the weeks before release. Snapchat is becoming a regular platform as well, both for organic stories and paid executions such as the "Snap to Unlock" ads run for The Girl on the Train, Passengers and other movies. Official websites are also becoming less and less essential, with many movies putting up placeholder sites with little to no information, or skipping owned sites altogether.

With all that said, a number of campaigns were more notable than others. Below are the ones that really broke through the clutter and made a big impression, though it should be noted that not all of these led to box-office success. Here, then, in no particular order, are the 10 most memorable movie campaigns of 2016.

 

 

Rogue One

Let's face it, the first time Jyn Erso turned around at the end of the teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, most all of us were hooked. Or else it was the shot of the dish being lowered into place on the uncompleted Death Star. Or it was Jyn saying, "I rebel." Whatever it was, Disney and Lucasfilm pulled out all the stops for this latest Star Wars installment, featuring a multicultural cast and a story of the ground-level Rebellion before Luke and Han entered the picture.

 

La La Land

From the moment it debuted at the Venice Film Festival, La La Land has had all the buzz. Critics immediately latched on to the movie, an original musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, that tells the story of two struggling artists falling in love in Los Angeles. It's a story about Hollywood, which always plays well with the entertainment industry and reporters. But it also just looks completely charming, with trailers that emphasize the big musical numbers and the doe-eyed looks Gosling and Stone give each other.

 

Swiss Army Man

Similarly, this one got everyone's attention at its Sundance debut back in January, quickly becoming known as the movie featuring Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse. The rest of the campaign played up that theme, with trailers and other elements that featured Radcliffe's Manny, a stiff with wide-ranging capabilities that help Paul Dano's Hank survive the deserted island he's become stranded on. There was even a press tour involving a Radcliffe look-alike dummy to keep hammering that idea home.

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

It's been eight years since the marketing for Cloverfield took over the internet, so the bar was high when it came time to market the sequel, which wasn't really a sequel but part of the same universe, maybe, we're not quite sure, but just go with it. The teaser trailer dropped with almost no notice, and the movie as a whole had only been vaguely hinted at before that. So, when we saw John Goodman acting deranged and dangerous, it was creepy and intriguing. An online puzzle slowly unlocked clues about the backstory and set the stage for what wound up being a truly original horror story.