A premiere to remember

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sony Pictures UK generated more than 3.6 million Tweets about its new release One Direction: This Is Us over a 24-hour period.

The Sony Pictures UK (@SonyPicturesUK) team knew that One Direction (@onedirection) fans love Twitter and use it to follow their idols. They wanted to harness this power to promote the new movie. Here’s how they did it.

Establish dedicated accounts and hashtags
The film’s marketing team integrated Twitter into all of their marketing and PR activities, including an official account (@1DThisIsUs) and a central hashtag (#1DMoviePremiere) to group conversations under one identifier. Consistent use of these two properties meant that the hashtag was used more than 1.9 million times on the day of the premiere, and the account attracted more than 2.2 million followers.

Director Morgan Spurlock hosts Q&A
Sony Pictures UK also brought fans into the movie-making experience. Director Morgan Spurlock (@MorganSpurlock) took part in a Twitter Q&A during filming to give followers a glimpse of what it’s like behind the camera. That event generated more than 42,000 mentions on the day of the Q&A — 27,000 of which were within the hour it took place. In all, some 25,000 followers joined the @1DThisIsUs account in a single day, more than double the typical follower increase.

Ahead of the premiere, the film’s producers set up another Q&A with all the key talent, tagged #1DMovieChat. This helped to drive awareness, engagement and conversation, using Tweets and photos to bring fans closer to the action.

During that Q&A there were more than 400,000 mentions of #1DMovieChat in the space of an hour.

The boys live-tweet the event
While the @1DMoviePremiere account attracted more than two million followers, the studio was also aware that the band members’ significant following on Twitter was another tool in their promotional arsenal. They worked with the band members (each of whom have between 10 and 15 million followers) to encourage them to live-tweet the day of the premiere.

The team behind the film also recognized the importance of Harry Styles’ following on the six second video app Vine, and worked with him to build excitement on press day ahead of the premiere:

Put the conversation on the big screens
When it came to the premiere itself, the eyes of the world were upon Leicester Square. @SonyPicturesUK partnered with Sassy Films (@SassyFilms) and Mass Relevance to make Twitter a core part of the experience, including Tweets on the big screens in the square and a giant Twitter counter measuring worldwide conversation around the event in real time. The big screen was also shared with cinemas around the UK and Europe:

Use a Twitter mirror to send exclusive images worldwide
A special tweeting mirror on the premiere’s red carpet captured behind-the-scenes shots of the band and VIP guests, tweeting out from the @1DThisIsUs account. The mirror brought fans across the world closer to the premiere than ever before.

Incorporate Twitter timeline widgets
The premiere had digital power at its core. Rather than being broadcast on TV, the premiere was live-streamed on Yahoo’s OMG! website. By including an embeddable Twitter timeline widget, Yahoo! was able to include Twitter mentions of #1DMoviePremiere directly on the page, making it a dynamic destination for fans from around the world to follow the action live.

In harnessing the power of One Direction’s Twitter following by using several examples of best practices, Sony Pictures UK created global hype around @1DThisIsUs in the weeks leading up to its premiere and achieved huge volumes of conversation about the film on Twitter.

When the film came out, all eyes may have been on the thousands of fans in Leicester Square — but those crowds were actually dwarfed by the conversation on Twitter, where fans all over gathered to share in their excitement about #1DMoviePremiere.