The Hobbit goes on an unexpected digital journey
Undoubtedly the film event of the year and the next two years is The Hobbit. Yes there is Twilight for the younger generation but The Hobbit is iconic and stretches across all ages. They have created some really cool brand partnerships and one or two really naff ones!
Undoubtedly any big film is lost without a Lego partnership and The Hobbit is no exception. The innovative trailer on the website really capturing the essence of the film.
The most obvious partnerships are the tie in’s with New Zealand. Not that the original thought of the book was that the story was set there but just like the Lord of the Rings trilogy the Hobbit trilogy has been owned by New Zealand.
The breath taking landscapes featured in the film are the best advertising money didn’t buy! Just like the first films transformed the brand and image of New Zealand and with it their visitor numbers so The Hobbit will undoubtedly have the same effect,
Both Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand have claimed New Zealand as Middle Earth, effectively renaming the place!
There are branded planes, coins, stamps and an entire marketing strategy around the film to attract people to the country where it was filmed and featured heavily. Air New Zealand have allocated most of their US$100m budget over the next few years to Hobbit themed activities.
Tourism New Zealand claim in recent survey that 57% of people already considering a trip to New Zealand were aware of The Hobbit trilogy and of those 87% know the films were filmed in the country and 58% were fans of The Hobbit.
Air Zealandhas gone that step further and integrated The Hobbit into their safety video, an ingenius way of ensuring that everyone who flies Air NZ sees the trail for the film and associates the airline with the film and the country. It has already gone viral and been watched by over 10million people on You Tube alone.
A really cool mobile partnership has been created with GoldRun’s mobile application. The photo driven engagement platform. Instead of merely placing mobile adverts Warner Bros are using GoldRun to create an opt in experience for their fans to engage and share with friends.
The photos taken on GoldRun with The Hobbit characters in them can be used by the studio to engage and tap into the word of mouth effect the sharing element has with the film. They can be used in places like Pinterest and facebook to spread the word and connect with fans/new customers.
The GoldRun app uses a mobile device’s built-in camera to let consumers pose next to characters from the fim. This can be personalised by placing the character in a different place and having a different size.
Users can then take pictures of themselves next to the Hobbit character and send it to friends to share. Great word of mouth marketing for the film of the moment.
There are many other win ticket type promotions across the world but none so naff as the Denny’s one. It just looks tacky!
Compare Denny’s with Microsoft and you wonder what Warner Bros were thinking when they gave it the go ahead! To universal criticism Denny’s have introduced a really tacky menu with lots of existing items renamed with Hobbit/Hobbit characters in front of them….
Gandalf’s Gobble Melt, Bilbo’s Berry Smoothie, Radagast’s Red Velvet Pancake Puppies (they actually have that?), Lonely Mountain Treasure, Frodo’s Pot Roast Skillet, Shire Sausage are just some of the very icky items on the menu to be avoided….
Kabam have reskinned and recreated a mobile game called Kingdoms of Middle Earth. It’s available as a free download on both play store and the app store. There is much building and fighting to be done and all can be shared and chatted about during the game giving Angry Birds a run for its, um, “money”.
However as several reviewers have pointed out this game has been released twice before only this time they have put “Hobbit” in front of the title to cash in on the film. Well as it’s free they have to make it work somehow!
The most ambitious brand partnership is Microsoft who have been bold with their planned three year association with the Windows 8 mobile phone. The brand will be using characters from the film in an innovative brand partnership that will add tens of millions of dollars to the film’s marketing budget while also associating Windows 8 mobile with the biggest and most talked about film for each of the next three years.