With 'Wonder Woman,' Warner Bros. takes different marketing tack
- Movie studio Warner Bros. has been accused of under-promoting its new film "Wonder Woman" compared to earlier D.C. comics adaptations such as "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Suicide Squad." However, two new analyses from The Drum and Bloomberg outline a comprehensive social media and merchandising strategy that backed the film beyond standard trailers and brand partnerships.
- The Drum noted that Warner Bros. was one of the first studios to buy Facebook's augmented reality (AR) camera masks with a "Wonder Woman" tiara filter, which star Gal Gadot shared on a post that received 8.5 million likes. There were five branded Snapchat filters in the lead-up to release, along with a 16-bit in-app game. Gadot also leveraged Twitter to provide fans behind-the-scenes looks at the film's production, including how her costume was made.
- Merchandising around the film featured standard superhero toys, but also ties to more women-oriented products such as branded cosmetics, jewelry and purses, which could bring in as much as $1 billion worldwide in sales, Karina Masolova, executive editor of The Licensing Letter, told Bloomberg.
Superhero movies are big business in Hollywood at the moment, and the marketing behind those movies has become closely scrutinized, often costing millions of dollars on top of already-massive tentpole production budgets. While "Wonder Woman" might not have had the media visibility of comparable summer releases like Marvel Studio's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," marketing and merchandising behind the film clearly opted for a highly-targeted route via a super-powered social push and tie-ins with women-oriented brands.
The strategy here points to how movie studios are starting to look beyond standard promotions like trailers and big brand partnerships to generate hype with their ideal viewers — in this case, women. Instead, many like Warner Bros. are turning to more innovative ad products like AR filters on Snapchat and Facebook or even leveraging their stars as a form of celebrity influencer, per the use of Gadot's personal Twitter.
"Wonder Woman's" marketing budget actually exceeded that of "Suicide Squad," according to The Drum, with Warner Bros. spending $3 million on ads compared to the latter movie's $2.64 million budget. The Warner Bros. approach, despite criticisms, clearly paid off in some respects: "Wonder Woman" had the highest-grossing opening weekend for a movie directed by a woman.
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