The plot of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film Prometheus–a sprawling exploration of the origins of man–may have raised some questions but the movie’s marketing campaign was, unquestionably, one of the most original and absorbing in recent memory. Ignition Interactive, the creative agency behind much of the Hunger Games’ online campaign (previously profiled on Co.Create), designed and executed a similarly complex and bar-raising effort that aimed to engage potential moviegoers in the mysterious world of Prometheus by utilizing bespoke content and some previously unexploited avenues for marketing.
While The Hunger Games had a rabid and active fanbase from the books long before that movie came along, Prometheus’ pre-existing fanbase was much smaller and less obvious. Film geeks and fans of Scott’s 1979 film,Alien (for which Prometheus is a prequel of sorts) form a dedicated core that Ignition was charged with expanding. The L.A.-based company did so by employing some of the tactics from the Hunger Games campaign as well as a number of new ones.
In the words of Ignition Creative Director Chris Eyerman, the first goal of the campaign was to “blur the boundaries between content and marketing, fiction and reality, story and game. It can be blurred to the point of invisibility, creating a holistic narrative experience that entertains and engages regardless of platform.”
Here, Eyerman tells Co.Create how he and his team of 15-20 people accomplished that.
Surprise! Peter Debuts at TED
“My name is Peter Weyland, and if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to change the world.” With that declaration, the marketing campaign was in full swing. Weyland, as played in the film by Guy Pearce, was speaking via video in a TED Talk from the future. 2023, to be exact (incidentally, the TED video shows Weyland at a time in his life that’s never shown in the movie. InPrometheus, Weyland appears as an old man). The TED Talk, which ran on TED’s blog, was an idea that came from co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Lost), and was produced out of Scott’s production company, RSA.
“If you want to score a hit, aim where nobody is expecting,” says Eyerman. And nobody was expecting anything from TED. The fascinating, expertly produced TED Talk was done in TED’s riveting, crowd-pleasing style, and lent an air of authenticity to the launch. It also drove viewers to the campaign’s hub; the video’s endplate announced a new website for Weyland Industries. That high end, bespoke piece of content set the tone for the campaign that would have a few other surprises in store for intrigued audiences.