20th Century Fox Home Entertainment picked up a Shorty Award recently for Best Social Media Campaign for its work harnessing Twitter, Facebook and other digital platforms to make “The Wolverine” one of its strongest performing titles.
Fox’s victory shows how flexible and novel studios have become at using tweets, likes and shares to their advantage to inject new life into a home entertainment sector that was hit hard by the move of customers away from physical discs to streaming video.
In the case of “The Wolverine,” Fox spent six weeks rolling out a specially designed “Declassified” campaign that teased out recently-unearthed documents about the clawed hero’s mysterious origins and 165 year history of slicing, dicing and being a general bad ass.
From there, the film’s more than 3 million Facebook fans shared various conspiracy theories, rumors and folk lore related to the mutant vigilante.
It was the home entertainment unit’s most comprehensive marketing campaign around a digital release. It involved cross promotions with the likes of McDonald’s, Xbox and Apple, as well as partnering with director James Mangold and Hugh Jackman.
Jackman took over iTunes’ Twitter account on the film’s digital release date to stump for it, becoming a trending sensation. The film was a pioneer in another way by becoming the first major home entertainment campaign to utilize photo messaging service, SnapChat.
The result was the studio’s most successful digital release to date. Fox has aggressively embraced digital sales of its films, becoming one of the first of the major Hollywood players to begin offering its films for sale on iTunes and other online retailers two weeks or more before DVDs and Blu-rays hit store shelves.
To win this honor, Fox was pitted against the social media campaigns for the theatrical releases of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” “The Purge” and the Bollywood hit “Chennai Express.”
The Shorty Awards recognize social media campaigns in a variety of fields and industries, ranging from art and design to green activism.