About two weeks ago some very interesting and usual advertisements started appearing on bulletin boards across the UH Manoa campus. At first glance you could have missed them as they tended to blend in with the other myriad of postings that these community bulletin boards tend to attract. Upon closer examination though you might have picked out these ads:
If you notice, all the fliers direct you to BuzzCampusHawaii.com. Upon typing in that link you are then redirected to the Toy Story 3 preview screening for Hawaii. A few clicks and you can sign up to see the first 65 minutes of Toy Story 3 this Thursday, April 29 at the Consolidated Kahala 8 Theaters. The only catch? You have to have a college ID in order to attend.
While viral marketing is nothing new, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it tried out in Hawaii. Three years ago, the viral marketing campaign for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight took geeks of the fan base by storm and asked them to decipher a number of different clues and tasks–each step of the way giving them access to information about the movie as well as creating a massive nationwide/worldwide alternate reality game (ARG). Since then a number of different companies and movies have tried replicating that success in trying to generate positive pre-release word of mouth.
While it was cool to see a studio try this out in Hawaii, I think it’s kind of a waste as all these advertisements do is direct you to the Facebook page that allows you sign up to come to the screening. I have to say though, whoever created the fliers definitely knew what they were doing as all of them blend in with the similar fare of other ads posted on the bulletin boards. From the handwritten text to the hand drawn artwork, it definitely looks like it could be legitimate. However inspired these fliers are, the age old saying is true: go BIG or go home. This campaign probably could have been something bigger and better with a little more help.
In any case, college students on Oahu will get a chance to see a preview of Toy Story 3 six weeks before it hits theaters. If you’re a starving college student, it might be worth checking out.
*UPDATE* The Red Band Project has learned that the the Honolulu Toy Story 3 “Cliffhanger” screening is now open to HIGH SCHOOL juniors and seniors (also needing to show school ID as proof). Spread the word.