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

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

Universal Pictures

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.

“[Director] Elizabeth Banks gifted us all with this film and the pure, carnal delights it consistently delivers on every level,” Sanger said.