PR Lessons to Learn from 2018’s Summer Blockbusters

By October 4, 2018 July 29th, 2019 Public Relations

Summer has come and gone, but we had a heck of a ride with 2018’s blockbusters! From Avengers Infinity War to Crazy Rich Asians, there are quite a few takeaways from these immensely successful box office hits:

1. Avengers Infinity War

Synopsis: Avengers Infinity War kicked off the summer blockbuster season with a bang. Ten years in the making, it brought together the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe–and brought moviegoers the grandest showdown of all time–the Avengers versus Thanos–a foe dead set on eliminating half of the universe’s population to achieve “balance.”

Takeaway: Part of what made the movie so successful was its partnerships. With partners like Coca-Cola, Quicken Loans and Infiniti, “Infinity” was the biggest promo ever for a Marvel movie, with a media value of over $150 million. For those of us without that kind of budget, boosting your credibility through partnerships with organizations such as non-profits can be an effective strategy. It puts your PR strategy ahead of the curve by showing corporate social responsibility while also generating positive publicity. According to an article in Forbes, Nielsen recently published its annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report, which says that 66% of consumers will choose to spend more money on a product from a sustainable brand. Not only that, it’s expected by 81% of millennials that their favorite companies have identified values.

2. Deadpool 2

Synopsis: Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool meets a young boy named Russell, an angry teenage mutant who resides at an orphanage. When Russell becomes Cable’s target–a genetically enhanced soldier from the future, Deadpool teams up with powerful X-Men to protect Russell from Cable’s terror.

Takeaway: Arguably one of the best PR campaigns this year, Deadpool 2’s brilliance was crashing classic Fox film covers in Walmart stores across the U.S. Marketing for the sequel began more than a year before the film’s release with Reynolds, in his suit, impersonating Bob Ross to tease the movie. He had also adopted the character’s persona in real life which also helped the movie’s PR campaign as Reynolds used the persona to troll Hugh Jackman’s Twitter. As a result, the film had the second biggest R-rated opening ever, behind the original Deadpool. For your company’s next PR campaign, if you’re pushing a new product or service, it’s more effective to start as early as possible to create intrigue. Also, not being afraid to use humor in your PR campaigns allows you to create entertaining, relatable content that will stick in your audience’s minds more something like a statistic.

3. Incredibles 2

Synopsis: Everyone’s favorite superhero family returned this summer, but this time Helen (the mom) was in the spotlight, leaving her husband Bob at home with their children Violet and Dash. This was a tough transition for everyone in the family, but when a new villain hatches a diabolical plan, the Incredible sand their pal Frozone find a way to work together again.

Takeaway: Even fourteen years later after the original, Disney/Pixar knew how to tap into the audience’s nostalgia for the first movie and the sense of wonder it created, while also using the film as a vehicle for showing the intricacies of a family dynamic. Their strategy was a heavy promotion of teaser trailers, which had a combined viewing of over 150 million views on YouTube. The powerhouses also partnered with major brands, including Chrysler, Alaska Airlines and Coppertone. There are two takeaways here. The first is to create teasers of your product to create interest long before its launch. Second, if possible, partner with another company that can improve your PR campaign by providing additional value in your target audience’s eyes.

4. Mission Impossible: Fallout

Synopsis: Two years after Ethan Hunt had captured his arch nemesis Solomon Lane, the remaining members of the Syndicate reformed into another organization called the Apostles. He and the IMF team then join forces with a CIA assassin to recover plutonium cores to prevent catastrophe.

Takeaway: Even though the first Mission Impossible was released 22 years ago, it remains one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. This particular campaign focused on an entire series of video featurettes that concentrated on stunt coordination, promoted through a multitude of channels. This goes to show even if you don’t have $330 million to spend on production (and almost none of us do!), promotion and distribution channels you can still take the part of your campaign that resonates the most with your target audience and promote it based on where they are most likely to see it.

5. Crazy Rich Asians

Synopsis: Protagonist Rachel Chu was happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. What she didn’t know is that his family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight against her will, Rachel contended with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and Nick’s disapproving mother.

Takeaway: Hollywood’s first movie with an all-Asian cast to hit the big screen in 25 years was such a smash hit that it convinced producers to make a sequel. So, what made it so successful? According to an article published in Forbes, the movie achieved three things: “created a new “sub-genre,” deeply satisfied narrow customer needs and lead with an authentic brand purpose.” We agree! For PR pros, knowing your target audience and researching their behavioral interests can amplify your reach by tenfold.

So, PR pros, as you continue to go to the movies or binge a Netflix series, keep your eyes open for lessons you can learn from Hollywood’s biggest hits.

Until next time!

Critical Mention

Jolie Shapiro Picture
Jolie Shapiro

Passionate about all things communications, Jolie found her dream job as a copywriter with Critical Mention, where she’s continuing her passion for writing and editing. With a background working for high-profile clients in the financial, hospitality and technology industries, she’s excited to bring her experience to Critical Mention. When she’s not writing you can find her at music festivals, hiking or snowboarding.

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