There has been an overload of animated hero movies in the past couple of years, from “The Incredibles” (2004) by Pixar to, most recently, “Despicable Me” (2010) by Universal Pictures. Of course, Paramount’s DreamWorks had to get in on the action, and thus they released “Megamind” this past Friday, November 5. These films are all categorized and marketed as “family-friendly films”, as their content and humor is intentionally appropriate and entertaining for all ages.
Most of the buzz about this film was built off of the stellar cast. Megamind himself is Will Ferrell, who has been praised for his supreme voice-altering abilities. Much to my excitement, the movie’s protagonist and hero, Metro Man, is voiced by Brad Pitt. Other voice actors from this film include stars like Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, David Cross, and Justin Theroux.
The story revolves around the power struggle between the studly hero, Metro Man, and the afflicted villain, Megamind, and their battle for most likable protagonist in Metro City. They had always been arch-nemeses, until one day Megamind’s plan prevailed over Metro Man’s, leaving him at the top of the food chain and with a chance with Metro Man’s ex-girlfriend, reporter Roxanne Ritchi. After many years of evil reign, Megamind gets bored and creates a new hero to battle with, who ends up rebelling and turning to the dark side. The story comes full-circle when Megamind is the only super-person who can fight the new villain, and thus becomes the new hero of Metro City. Below is a video of one of the funky previews DreamWorks released called the “MEGA Rap”.
DreamWorks has not been a leader in entertainment marketing…ever. I noticed that this movie, like many other villain-versus-hero type animated films before it, was marketed to each member of the American family. Real creative. BUT the plus-side is that Dreamworks has now implemented that 10% of its budget to go towards online content. Yay 21st Century!
They certainly have used this newly-allotted money for a good cause. One of the most innovative tactics of the Megamind campaign was their advertising on Facebook’s most popular game, FarmVille. While I have personally avoided this game at all costs for fear of addiction, FarmVille rallies an impressive 16 million daily active users, and 56 million monthly users. “Megamind” was the very first film to utilize this advertising platform, following companies such as McDonalds, 7-11, and General Mills. In an article written by AdAge, Anne Globe, the head of worldwide marketing for DreamWorks, said that “Megamind” is the first of it’s kind to use FarmVille for advertising, and that it was a very innovative way for them to engage more viewers.
Below is a picture of the Facebook application, FarmVille, and its 24-hour transformation to the world of Megamind. I am convinced that using social media sites and applications in this way has only just begun, and marketers will continue to think of more and more creative ways to advertise their products online.
Another online strategy that DreamWorks used was to create an interactive website with content that appeals to people of all ages. Like the “MEGA Rap” video above, they formatted the content in a variety of ways to appeal to many different audiences. From the “Megamind” homepage, you can get to everything anyone could possibly hope for, from interactive games and ringtone downloads, to comic books and ticket listings.
In all, I think all of DreamWorks efforts were admirable, and it paid off – “Megamind” opened as number one in the box office this weekend with $48 Million in sales. Mostly, I’m just happy that DreamWorks has finally got it’s game together, and has at least started engaging in fun, innovative marketing techniques to match up with other children’s entertainment production companies.
Do you think that DreamWorks’ efforts have improved or that they are still somewhat stagnant?