International – The Hunger Games film was released globally today and is already being compared with Twilight in terms of scope and buzz.
In the run-up to the release, several popular blogs and entertainment sites have zeroed in on the film’s innovative magazine-style microsite Capitol Couture. The magazine takes a Second Life approach, blurring the lines between The Hunger Games world and the real world, with regular issues that feature profiles and lifestyle-and-fashion guides that are set in Panem, the film’s post-apocalyptic North American setting, but direct to real-world commercial and media outlets.
Banner ads are emblazoned with the words ‘The 74th Annual Games. Buy Tickets Now’, but link to a real-life cinema booking site.
There is a dedicated Capitol Couture Tumblr blog featuring popular Panem fashion and beauty guides, which users are encouraged to share on their own Tumblr posts. Real-world designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and Haider Ackermann are referred and linked to, recommended by Capitol Couture’s style editors. There are also fan competitions to design couture looks and submit photos of beauty looks in Panem’s signature style.
The Hunger Games’ particular success, says Matthew Rhodes, strategy director at London-based digital agency FreshNetworks, has been its community-building approach to viral marketing.
‘The launch has been highly nuanced, using different platforms, tools and communities to focus on discovery, enabling people to come across the brand through games, conversations and content wherever they may be,’ he explains.
He adds: ‘They are building communities across all these platforms of people who have connected around the ‘characters and the storylines before the film has even aired. ‘It’s really a shift from marketing at a potential audience to engaging them in the story itself.’