Inside the Meme-Focused ‘Cocaine Bear’ Marketing Strategy That Roared at the Box Office

Alex Sanger, Universal’s digital marketing EVP, opens up the studio’s social media playbook

Nobody thought it was possible but last weekend, Universal’s “Cocaine Bear” nearly gobbled up “Ant-Man” at the box office. Much of that success can be linked to its ingenious meme-driven marketing strategy, which exploited the inherently goofy possibilities of a movie with a name like “Cocaine Bear” while still making sure that people knew that this was a real (and very fun movie).

When it came to identifying that “Cocaine Bear” will make for a strong, meme-worthy campaign, Alex Sanger, Universal’s executive vice president of global digital marketing, read the room.

Become a member to read more.

Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor is a reporter at TheWrap. Before joining the organization in 2021, Drew was a freelance film journalist with a keen interest in animation and Disney history. Drew has been covering film, television and theme parks for 15 years. He has written for the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, Collider, The Playlist, Polygon, Vulture, Box Office Magazine, AOL Travel and Syfy. He was the executive editor and social media manager for Moviefone before it was purchased by MoviePass. Additionally, Drew co-created and co-hosts “Light the Fuse,” a weekly podcast dedicated to the “Mission: Impossible” film franchise that recently celebrated its 200th episode milestone. He also authored the book “The Art of Onward,” about the making of Pixar’s 2020 fantasy film, and provided liner notes for several Mondo vinyl releases for Pixar features (“Up,” “Coco” and “Lightyear”).