InceptionInstigating a truly multichannel campaign can be a
daunting one. You know your business better than anybody, but it’s
still always helpful to have a few pointers in the right direction at
the beginning.

So which industries can we look at to provide a solid
example of a truly successful and joined up multichannel campaign that leads
customers across channels and encourages them to interact more fully
with a brand?

Fortunately there are several places to look, but one of
the more obvious can currently be found shoring up your local multiplex:
Inception.

Christopher Nolan’s latest film has had a blockbuster opening weekend, figures stand at $60.4m at time of writing, and has already garnered some great feedback from critics.

However, what’s really interesting to marketers is happening offscreen. Nolan and Warner Bros. had made a point of releasing very little advance information about the film, so even with the not-insubstantial resources at their disposal it’s amazing that they were able to transform a completely unknown entity into the ‘must-see’ release of the year in such a limited time.

In doing so, Warner showed their understanding of digital marketing and cross-streaming to produce a marketer’s dream campaign.

Initial points go to the company for their intimate knowledge of their audience.

For example, Warner went to great pains over its blog outreach campaign, utilising major and minor movie fan sites to help spread titbits of pre-release information.

While they were kindest to influencers like Ain’t it Cool News, they also took time to develop fun products for the fanboy in the street, beginning with a ‘must read’ online comic book prequel, The Cobol Job. The book introduces us to the characters and rules of Nolan’s filmic world, and more importantly gives those reading it a little something extra.

Most major movie fans want to know more, to be ahead of the man in the street when it comes to a film’s expanded universe. For proof of the success this kind of incentivisation can have consider the thousands of yearly Star Wars and Star Trek conventions that occur all over the world.

These events are designed around people who want to say “I am the biggest fan, the central source of knowledge”. While this may be too niche (or downright geeky) to attract mainstream audiences, Warner knew in advance that they’d be utilising one of the best connected and most highly motivated online groups available.

Of course, fan approval is all well and good but it won’t necessarily pay the bills for a $200m film production. In order to engage the casual viewer, word needs to spread beyond the dedicated enthusiasts but luckily these days there’s a handy crossover point called Facebook.

Warner’s Facebook page for the film is a lovely exercise in landing pages to start with, but it’s the interactive features that really engage fans.

Facebook has a huge gaming community, so the ‘Mind Crime’ game was a perfect tool for generating viral spread.

Of course, Warner also knows that not everyone is socially networked (at least, not yet…) so they’ve done some fun things with the main website too, including fun greenscreen apps tht put you directly into the action via your mobile, and for those wanting something a little different, the “Mind Crime Prevention” app should do the trick, with a nifty (if ultimately pointless) interface that will “allow you to tell dream from reality”.

What’s striking about all of these is the effort that’s gone into making the viewer feel part of the overall experience through an integrated, expanding augmented reality.

The movie is currently trending on a huge number of independent networks so Warner’s forethought is really paying off, building buzz before, during and after the release.

The movie industry has been pulling off unique and involving marketing campaigns and promo stunts for years (check out ‘The Tingler‘ for proof), and is one of the most forward thinking when it comes to social marketing and innovative digital technology.

It’s worth contrasting this against that similar old media behemoth, the music industry, who have consistently struggled to find a new marketing model that competes with free sharing and piracy.

While the movie industry has been affected, it’s certainly not to the same extent, and while we can’t all have Leonardo Dicaprio fronting our campaigns, the willingness to involve fans and make them feel a valuable part of the marketing experience is something we can all learn from.