For big blockbuster movie fans, 2014 could be the biggest summer line-up of all time. With franchises like Spider-man, X-men, Transformers, Godzilla, and Captain America all landing in theaters this summer, studios and their major partners are all trying to find digital campaigns to get folks talking.
Both Sony and Marvel are turning to augmented reality styled campaigns to help get fans excited about their upcoming films. The Amazing Spider-man has two different executions to enable fans to have photo related fun with the movie assets. The first is a mobile phone web-based photo sharing campaign called “Caught on Camera” where fans can upload photos to the site, then manipulate those photos with images of Spider-man. They can then share those images on Instagram with the #SpideySighting hashtag for a chance at their photo getting featured in Times Square. I was lucky to have my photo shared by the Spidey movie social team, which was taken in downtown Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill district.
The other The Amazing Spider-man 2 campaign actually uses augmented reality triggers built inside an app created by one of the film’s promotional partners: Kellogg’s. The app is called “Kellogg’s The Amazing Spider-man 2 Web Slinging Game” and is available on iOS only. It was designed by Catapult Marketing and is not the first time they’ve worked with Kellogg’s to create an augmented reality driven movie promotion tied to products found in retail stores. They designed the AR app for the first Spidey film and recently made the Man of Steel app.
All three of their Kellogg’s apps are designed so that a customer must use the AR tracker to scan Spider-man movie themed Kellogg’s products, which is an excellent way to get items in front of consumers. This latest app is more of the same with multiple levels to unlock with mini-games that you can play set to your phone’s background environment. It also includes a Spidey costume creator that lets fans suit up like Spider-man and share the images with friends. Gameplay is relatively simple with little to no variation between the three levels and reminds me a lot of the Avengers Super-Hero AR game from Wal-Mart. The best thing about this Spidey 2 app is the short video footage you receive when unlocking each of the three levels using the triggers found on Kellogg’s packaging which features a few unique clips exclusive to this experience.
The Captain America Winter Soldier Experience is a very simple execution from Marvel Entertainment. The iOS only app uses AR tracking to trigger a 3D image of Cap busting through one of the two movie posters used for the film. Fans can then snap a photo and share it with their friends. Sadly, it’s a one-trick pony app with that being the extent of the experience. This is a bit of a disappointment coming from Marvel Entertainment, especially considering the extensive augmented reality integration into their comics using the Marvel AR App - which is fantastic. At minimum, they should’ve included some bonus exclusive video/stills, or created some way for fans to interact more with the Cap assets – game, video fx creator, costumes, etc. While the single 3D image looks terrific, it’s needs a bit more depth to be on par with other free AR based initiatives from other studios and ad partners.
Movie partner promotions have certainly come along way since the days of the fast food and pizza chain glasses – like the Star Wars original trilogy which I still have in my cabinet. Advancements in mobile technology has opened the door to a wide range of digital initiatives to create fan excitement about upcoming movies and to get them talking with their social networks. This summer will be a busy one and I expect to see more promotions like these for other films as we get closer to those release dates.
I would also like to point out that none of these three executions should be called “second screen” campaigns. These are simply social marketing initiatives that take place on a mobile device. Yes, there is a difference: read more on that here.
[All images were personally screen-grabbed from their digital experiences]