Why it took James Bond to finally beat The Martian.

“The Martian” finally ended a long run at the top of the box office. Meanwhile, the novel by Andy Weir rests at the number four position on the New York Times, despite being initially published in 2011. Most authors consider their book successful if they hit the list once, let alone remain atop for over twenty consecutive weeks years after being released.

While its success boils down to great writing, being the right book for the right time during a resurgence of space curiosity with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and IFLScience, it’s more than that.

The movie has enjoyed incredible success hinged upon incredible marketing efforts. The level of cross-promotion and intelligent marketing efforts. Similar to “Jurassic World” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” a new norm has emerged. It stems in creating responsive websites, intuitive social media, and amazing video content for fictional universes.

In “Jurassic World,” a remarkable site was made for the park itself, as well as InGen’s successor, Masrani. The company that took the reigns after the failure of the first park had all the company tropes: about page, executive team, mission statements, corporate introduction, everything needed to create a company website. For “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” we saw Trask’s development firm discuss the innovation of protecting humans from mutants with the Sentinel program.

The Martain continued to trend with AresLive.com, a video prologue series chronicling the Ares journey to Mars. It follows the crew, counts down to launch.

More impressively, they did cross-promotional videos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The videos were set within the fictional universe of The Martian, implying the reality of this science fiction that made it so popular. In addition, Under Armour created a microsite about the company being the official mission gear of the Ares crew. It does very little to talk about the movie itself. Rather the microsite embraces the notion of a fictional sponsorship. It takes the traditions of advertising to a different level, creating a varied approach separated just far enough to go from clichéd to original.

The takeaway? It takes an incredible core product to make something truly impactful. In this case the core product being Andy Weir’s bestseller. However, with a great core product comes unique opportunities for secondary products and promotional efforts that separate from the rest of the noise in the market. So take the chance to find out what opportunities can arise from your core products, and embrace them. Neil DeGrasse Tyson could’ve just had a trailer for “The Martian” play during an episode of “Cosmos.” Under Armour could’ve just sponsored the movie. Instead, they sponsored a fictional crew within a fabricated narrative.

This unique approach is why it took a 50 year franchise to finally stop The Martian from being at the top of the box office and make the movie Ridley Scott’s most successful film to date. Remember, Ridley Scott made a few other movies you may have heard of: Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator just to name a few. The man knows how to tell a story. And now, he has an incredible team to advertise the incredible product on hand.

So how can you take unique advertising opportunities and apply them to your brand and products? Chime in with the comment section below. The conversation is always live on Twitter as well. Let’s have a chat @ThomasAFowler using the hashtag #WritersConquest.


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