Cobra Commander is Recruiting.
February 7, 2013
In 2011, the writers of Zombieland were recruited to pen a sequel to 2009’s big screen adaptation of G.I. Joe. The result? G.I. Joe: Retaliation will open next month.
Everyone knows about Cobra Commander, obviously, from the toys we had growing up to the Twitter profile that occasionally steps in to ensure terrified citizens that yes, indeed, everything bad that happens in your life is the result of some action on the part of Cobra Special Forces. But everyone also knows that it’s bada** to be on Cobra Commander’s side. So, in partnership with a number of triathlons, Monster Truck rallies and Kid Rock concerts, Paramount has launched a viral marketing campaign to join Cobra Special Forces at a February event. And after 27,000 shares on Facebook, you can be sure they consider this campaign a success.
You might be asking, what is “viral marketing?” Well, it’s a way of sneaking advertising into the daily lives and activities of a target demographic, whether by empowering consumers to join a Facebook campaign, encouraging them to participate in an ongoing game with prizes, or just by forcing everyday users of public transportation to question the genesis of unique billboards. In this case, Paramount is taking Cobra Command out into the real world to promote the movie, in the hopes that users who feel that they are a part of the production will, in turn, pay to see the movie in theaters. It’s worked before. The Dark Knight pitted fans against each other nationwide by releasing puzzle websites and real-world clues to the Joker’s whereabouts, and District 9 separated humans and aliens using buses in major cities with quickly-created “segregation booths” for non-humans.
Can it work for you? Maybe. Think about how your campaign fits into pop culture. Determine your target market and think about how they use your chosen medium and what they’d respond to, and build from there. It’s harder than it sounds, sure, but we can help with that.
P.S. Disney has also released a viral campaign surrounding a forthcoming move about the original origins of the attraction Tomorrowland. Taking into account the more curious and intellectual nature of it’s potential users, they’ve pretty much confused the heck out of everyone who received a mystery box of Disney artifacts marked “1952.” Stay Tuned.