Free Guy Poster Image. Source: GameRadar
Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, and Taika Waititi, releases only in theatres on August 13th, 2021. It explores the life of Guy, a background Non-Player Character (NPC) in a video game, until one day he is shown the truth of his existence and tasked with saving his world.
This social media marketing strategy will be separated into three phases: pre-event, event, and post-event, where the release date is considered the event. The strategy will be targeting males and females, ages 16 to 55 through Facebook and TikTok. Our influencer marketing plan will occur through TikTok, partnering with #1 female Twitch streamer Pokimane and popular TikTok users straw_hat_goofy and Jstoobs. The pre-event phase will focus on gaining followers, and this will be when the majority of the influencer campaign will occur. The event phase will focus on ticket sales, and the post-event phase will focus on promoting the sales of merchandise and at-home video. We will track followers and ticket sale-related KPIs like click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates.
Our overall campaign has 2 SMART goals, where “The ‘SMART’ acronym stands for ‘specific,’ ‘measurable,’ ‘attainable,’ ‘relevant,’ and ‘time-bound’.” (Chi, 2021) The SMART goals for this campaign are:
– Increase the number on followers Free Guy social media accounts by 20% during the 12-week pre-event portion of the campaign
– Increase ticket sales by 30% during event phase through Facebook post links and TikTok bio links
To achieve these goals, we will utilize Facebook and TikTok. Facebook will be used to target the broadest part of our audience, covering males and females ages 25–55 who have an interest in watching movies. We are using Facebook because it would be foolish to not advertise the movie to the general public who enjoys going to see new movies. Facebook is the best platform for this section of the audience because “A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook….” (Auxier, 2021)
TikTok was selected to target the audience that I believe will make up the majority of ticket sales for this movie. That audience is males and females, aged 16–30, who enjoy video games and other genres that may be considered “geeky” like comics and sci-fi. We will use TikTok for this audience because “‘…TikTok is especially common among adults under 30…” (Auxier, 2021), and with the TikTok algorithm, it is easy to find and curate an experience based on the individual users’ interests. “According to TikTok: ‘The system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors — starting from interests you express as a new user and adjusting for things you indicate you’re not interested in, too’.” (McGlew, 2021)
Facebook and TikTok will be crucial for this campaign. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
It will be important that the tone of our campaign matches that of the movie and its promotional materials. Therefore, the tone will remain light-hearted, fun, and excited. This also helps the audience to understand Guy’s personality at the beginning of the film, because he begins as a very happy and optimistic character.
In order for these posts to reach the widest potential audience, it will be important to consistently use hashtags. To ensure we capture as many impressions as possible, we will utilize both #FreeGuy and #FreeGuyMovie on every post on both platforms. It will be especially important for TikTok as its algorithm uses hashtags as part of its determination of what users are interested in. Additionally, the hashtag #RealLifeNPC will be used for a TikTok challenge, which will occur during the pre-event phase. The challenge will ask users to post a TikTok of what they imagine they would look and act like if they were a real-life non-player character. The prize for the challenge would be an exclusive Limited Edition Chase Funko Pop, one that will also be an integral part of our merchandising.
In addition to the #RealLifeNPC challenge, we will utilize TikTok for influencer partnerships. The first will be with the #1 female streamer on Twitch, Pokimane. Since the film has a female video game player as one of the main characters, this would be a great way to bring in that audience. Pokimane also makes a small cameo in the movie, so it would be a natural way for her to be able to discuss the movie in her content. Her partnership would include TikTok posts as well as at least 2 streams on her Twitch channel that would be related to the film in some way.
Geeks of the Week. Source: Apple Podcasts
The next partnership would be with 2 TikTok users known for discussing “geeky” movies like comic movies, sci-fi, and more. Those users, straw_hat_goofy and Jstoobs, would create their regular types of content (trailer reactions, reviews, speculation) about Free Guy on their TikTok accounts, but also do an episode of their joint podcast, Geeks of the Week, on a subject related to Free Guy.
As the star and executive producer of the movie, we would have Ryan Reynolds participate in the campaign by doing promotional materials that would be shared on both his account and the Free Guy account.
This is a sample pre-event phase TikTok post for the partnership with Pokimane. This promotes one of the streams she would do on her Twitch channel related to Free Guy. The concept for the stream would be for her to briefly discuss the movie, and then use it as a transition to discuss what she thinks the greatest NPCs of all time are.
During the event phase, we would more directly promote ticket sales with a post like this one for TikTok. This would contain a small clip of the movie, and instructions to visit the link in the bio for tickets to the movie.
Because the movie releases only in theaters while still in the midst of rules and regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be important to address it in some capacity. This post, also during the event phase, is one of the content pieces Ryan Reynolds would be involved in. This is a PSA asking the audience to stay safe while out at the movie theatres. But, this would be done with a touch of humor. The sample script and screenshot are below.
A PSA from Ryan Reynolds.
“We get to go to the movies again! We are so excited to welcome you back into the real world to come see my movie. It’s about…*pauses slightly and looks a little embarrassed* …the blurred lines between the real world and the virtual world. *shouts to someone off-screen* Really guys?! Who wrote this? Did we not think this through first? *mumbles to himself* This seems a bit ironic, even for me. *Sighs, turns back to camera, puts on a small smile, and begins to sound more earnest* But on a serious note here, we really want you all to stay safe out in the real world. So please, come see my movie. Please. I’m begging you. *Another pause while he stares straight down the barrel* But, do it safely. Everyone please wear your masks and socially distance when you go the theatre.
There is more to marketing a movie than just social media. But when promoting a movie all about the mix of the real world with the virtual world, it is vital to embrace social media as the wonderful marketing tool it can be.