Highly Commended 2022

Media & Entertainment


Sony Pictures Entertainment

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Spider-Man Swings To Global Success

The Challenge

Amid a growing global pandemic, with Omicron taking hold and cinemas closing across the world, Sony Pictures Entertainment tasked OMD EMEA with reaching $1.13B at the box office with their latest film release; Spider-Man: No Way Home. To put this into context, no film in the pandemic era had yet reached $1B. Audiences across the world were nervous and unsure about returning to crowded cinemas and all other 2020 and 2021 releases had tanked at the box office. We needed to ensure Spider-Man: No Way Home didn’t meet the same fate. In all other years reaching this goal may have seemed an achievable task, but after COVID, not anymore…

To make matters even more difficult, we could no longer rely on our usual audience of cinema goers to make up our numbers. Only 39% of cinema goers felt comfortable returning to the cinema. This audience would only make up $440M of our target so we had a long way to go to reach $1.13BN. Our objective was therefore to identify stretch audiences and make Spider-Man: No Way Home a cultural moment that everyone wanted to be part of. We needed to drive a sense of FOMO and must-see urgency.

We identified priority audience segments. Superhero super-fans were our lowest hanging fruit, but we also identified stretch segments of Ent-thusiasts and Multi-gen Consumers. Our challenge was to find triggers for these consumer segments. Through further analysis it was determined the key elements that would help cinema return were: 1) The hype of a box office smash and 2) The fear of missing out. We needed to create a cultural moment that meant people couldn’t wait to see this film at home, they had to head back to the cinema now.

The Content Solution

To deliver on our objectives and truly stand out, we needed to work closely with Sony Pictures’ creative team and deliver a truly integrated creative approach. As our media approach would involve non-standard creative formats, it was even more important to supply bespoke assets that were right for the platform. We also needed a strong working creative relationship with our vendors and partners to ensure the executions went to plan. Finally, we knew creative is the most important factor when it comes to driving attention – something we would need in order to drive FOMO and make this film the event of the year.

One example of how we delivered bespoke creative was with Turner to develop custom idents to air across Cartoon Network. These involved Spider- Man swinging through the well-known Cartoon Network logo, disrupting viewing, and grabbing attention of multi- generation consumers, one of our key audiences. This required significant collaboration and the animation of our key character from Sony’s creative team.

Our activation with AdColony required confidential assets of the Spider-Man villains featuring in the film. It was important to allow our audiences to interact with their favourite, well known characters so we worked closely with AdColony to bring this to life in the activation. Users were able to capture the villains with Spider-Man’s web shooter and lock them up with Doctor Strange’s magic powers. As we were revealing a large portion of the cast, confidentiality was key across this creative journey.

One final example of our creative innovation was a media first partnership with King (Candy Crush). Similarly to AdColony, users were able to interact with characters within the game. It was a truly integrated experience for our audiences.

Our creative approach juggled innovation, confidentiality and collaboration, ensuring that our creative was just as epic as the much-anticipated film release.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

To make Spider-Man: No Way Home a cultural moment that no one could miss, we identified key media tactics to amplify our content solution. Finding the right media executions would be a significant challenge.

Superhero Super-Fans: For this group, it was about standing out from the crowd, making our film feel like it was everywhere and making them feel like they would be missing out if they weren’t part of this global superhero moment. Gaming is key for this group, so media tactics needed to incorporate a gaming partner. High impact formats would ensure the film seemed unmissable and remind them to watch on important campaign days. As a result, we ran first impression takeovers on Twitch on key days leading up to launch, knowing that according to the IAB, high impact formats drive attention.

Ent-thusiasts: For this group there would be a lot of competition from streaming services and indoor activities that didn’t involve risking going to the cinema. We needed to build hype and a sense of urgency to convince them it was worth returning to the big screen to see the event of the year. This group were best reached and engaged with across social, video and gaming platforms, but, as per our content solution, we needed innovative formats to stand out. For Ent-thusiasts we behaved like the ‘must see’ event of the year, driving urgency with countdown stickers across TikTok, the first time a film studio had used this format. A Snapchat Lens allowed users to share with their friends and drive FOMO. We also worked with AdColony for the first time and created a bespoke mini game to keep attention beyond the trailer and engage them further in our title.

Multi-gen Consumers: For this audience we needed to grab attention, so they considered Spider-Man as part of their established family movie night behaviour. With co-viewing on digital devices continuing to rise and streaming services traditionally dropping lots of holiday content at Christmas, our guiding principle was to focus on co-viewed moments for this family group. This is where our idents featured and we ran the media first Candy Crush integration in their annual Advent Calendar, announcing our release date on the platform so it couldn’t be missed. This was the first time ever a partnership of this kind had taken place across Candy Crush and demonstrated our push for innovation across platforms.

The Result

We over delivered on our objectives by a mile, breaking multiple records in the process. Sony’s business objective was for us to deliver $1.13B in box office admissions. The box office revenue number (as of the time of writing) came in at $1.9B, $0.77M over target. Spider-Man: No Way Home became Sony’s highest opening of all time, the 6th highest film ever and the top movie of 2021.

In terms of our objective of making Spider-Man: No Way Home a cultural event across the world that everyone wanted to be a part of, our results speak for themselves. The trailer campaign broke a world record to become the most viewed trailer of all time in 24 hours (355.5 million views). There was FOMO with 3M people sharing our snapchat lens and 12.5M people taking up our Candy Crush gifts (98% uptake). We also know people paid attention to the campaign and it stood out with significant ad recall (+13% on TikTok and +21% on King).

To top it off we had some extremely happy clients. Spider-Man: No Way Home was part of film history and OMD EMEA was the driving force of this unrivalled success.

Client Testimonial, Ananya Roy – Vice President:
“THANK YOU all again for the truly hard work on Spider-man. We’re still counting the $$. It’s been incredible –well done everyone 😊 We’re all a part of Sony + movie industry history! And in a pandemic!”

Client Testimonial, Stefanie Napoli – Executive Vice President, Global Media:
“Guuuuuuyyyyyyyys! OMG! To our entire worldwide team at OMD…WE DID IT!!!!! TOGETHER!!!! This is a MOMENT! This would be amazing before a pandemic. But I mean, I’m just on Cloud 9 and hoping you all feel the same way.
Everyone involved is very grateful to our big wonderful crew.”