From ‘Jurassic Park’ to ‘Jurassic World,’ 20 years of movie marketing in the making
Every time I hear the theme music to “Jurassic Park,” I’m transported 20 years back. I’m 13 years old, feeling the same awe Dr. Grant felt the first time he saw the brachiosaur eating from the treeline. He asked John Hammond, the park’s millionaire mastermind, “How’d you do it?”
As a marketer, I ask myself the same question. Using marketing techniques available at the time of their respective releases, how did “Jurassic Park” and the latest franchise installment, “Jurassic World,” become such mega hits? “Jurassic Park” made more than $320 million since its release and “Jurassic World” has nearly doubled that number.
Since the 1993 release of “Jurassic Park,” we’ve seen the fall of publication and the rise of blogging, the decline of post and the boom of email, the shift from landline to mobile, and to the development of a truly global socially connected world. In addition to being great products on their own, “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” found success due to smart, creative marketing that utilized available technology.
“Hello and welcome to MovieFone”
Raise your hand if you remember the telephone being the primary way you bought movie tickets. Tele-ticketing allowed moviegoers to purchase and guarantee their seats via telephone, bypassing the long lines that were inevitable for big releases. “Jurassic Park” was one of the first movies to use the new system. As with all new things, there were naysayers. However, they were silenced as adoption became widespread. During opening weekend, the majority of tickets to “Jurassic Park” were bought via MovieFone in Los Angeles and New York City.
Jurassic World: Bloggers and social
Just as the success of “Jurassic Park” was tied to the then-new tele-ticketing system, the evolution of technology had a significant impact on the “Jurassic World” release. When “Jurassic Park” premiered in 1993, the word “blog” didn’t exist (“weblog” wasn’t coined until 1997) and Facebook was nowhere in sight (Mark Zuckerberg was only 9 years old!). It was a time when reviews were written by journalists and word-of-mouth recommendations happened on front porches and at water coolers.
Things have changed. Technology has enabled anyone to market films via blog or social.
“Everyone’s a critic”
More than a personal diary, a blog has become a powerful tool if wielded by the right person—especially if the author is passionate about his or her subject. Take movies, for example. Did you know that there are over 33,000 blogs about movies alone, according to the Inky Bee network? In the first two weeks after its release, “Jurassic World” inspired 1,317 blogs, 204 in the U.S.
Social: Lightning in a bottle and @PrattPrattPratt
At the time of the “Jurassic Park” release, audiences had the opportunity to view the trailer on TV or at the movies. Today, trailers are also available via social media. BuzzSumo reports that the official “Jurassic World” trailer is nearing 600,000 social shares, in addition to topping 69 million views. Here is how Twitter reacted to “Jurassic World” in the first two weeks of its release: Almost 3 million tweets were about Jurassic World, with an overall sentiment score of 75, according to Topsy.
Amidst the noise, some voices are louder than others. Regarding “Jurassic World” on social, Chris Pratt, beloved raptor trainer, booms. Here are Pratt’s social stats:
- Twitter: 2.5 million followers
- Facebook: 2.1 million likes
- Instagram: 1.8 million followers
Here’s a look at Pratt’s Twitter feed in the last month. Needless to say, there are lots of mentions and RTs about Jurassic World. In addition to his millions of followers, Pratt also has friends with extremely large social circles. Take a look at Aubrey Plaza’s tweet below. (Plaza has 1.19 million followers.)
And then the memes started, each one gaining tons of traction.
Nature, like marketing, keeps what works and changes what doesn’t. Advancements in technology, specifically blogging and social, have permanently changed the way we market film.