MMC5636 Final Project: Free Guy Marketing Strategy (Executive Summary)

Introduction

The movie Free Guy was set to hit theaters in 2020 — but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This marketing plan shows the revisions made due to postponement, with hope to attract a wider audience for a safer viewing experience beginning on its new release date of Aug. 13, 2021.

Credit: IMDB.com

At first, the team thought to welcome only moviegoers who are vaccinated against COVID-19, as vaccinations became available in December 2020 — and more widely available in spring 2021. But understanding some viewers are physically unable to be vaccinated due to health conditions, and not wanting to exclude that category of viewers, the team pivoted to a new direction. Guests of any vaccination status may attend screenings of Free Guy, but must be masked at all times (unless actively eating or drinking while stationary in their socially distant theater seats). For this reason, children under age 13 are not welcome into the theater for this PG-13 rated film — no matter the city and its unique restriction guidelines, even with parent permission.
Additionally, to encourage vaccination, guests who show proof of being fully vaccinated will receive a free popcorn and soft drink of their choice. Vaccinated guests are also eligible to enter a raffle to meet Free Guy, himself, Ryan Reynolds. This meet-and-greet experience will take place at the theater in which the viewer watched the film and entered the raffle, in a private screening room for one hour. The winner is allowed to invite three guests to participate in the meet-and-greet experience.

Specific to Instagram, which will lead much of the campaign

  • Pre-release date: Reach 100,000 followers on Free Guy’s Instagram account (@freeguymovie) before release date of Aug. 13, 2021; and keep a steady, current 7.5% engagement rate through Aug. 13, 2021.
  • Release date week: Increase Free Guy’s Instagram account (@freeguymovie) engagement rate from its current 7.5% to 15%, through pre-determined contests and giveaways — including merchandise giveaways at pop-up vaccination sites (more to come).
  • Post-release date week: Maintain 100,000 Instagram followers for the first 30 days of screenings, through Sept. 13, 2021. (Many often unfollow once they have seen the film.) It’s important for the account to maintain this number. This can be promoted through the meet-and-greet raffle.
  • Increase Free Guy’s Facebook following from 16,000 to 20,000 in a six week timeframe, leading up to the release of the film on Aug. 13, 2021.
  • Increase (double) Free Guy’s Twitter followers from 8,000 to 16,000 in a six week timeframe, leading up to the release of the film on Aug. 13, 2021.
  • Gain 1 million views on Free Guy’s film trailer via YouTube (from 14M to 15M) between Aug. 1 and Aug. 13, 2021.

Campaign

  • Facebook: The Facebook campaign will primarily promote the meet-and-greet raffle with Ryan Reynolds for vaccinated participants.
  • Instagram: The Instagram campaign will primarily focus on encouraging vaccination among millennial-aged moviegoers.
  • Twitter: The Twitter campaign will focus on a combination on the two campaigns of Facebook and Instagram — the meet-and-greet raffle with Ryan Reynolds and encouraging vaccination prior to experiencing the film in theaters. This campaign will emphasize the amount of time left before the release date, encouraging moviegoers to at least receive their first shot prior to seeing the film.
  • Facebook: Male and female, age 15–20 and age 35–50
  • Instagram: Female, age 20–35
  • Twitter: Male and female, age 25–40
  • Facebook: Serious, straight-forward, encouraging the fight against COVID-19
  • Instagram: Fun, excited, empathetic to those who want to return to normalcy but have yet to get vaccinated
  • Twitter: Fun and excited, yet serious and encouraging (combination)
  • Facebook: #FreeGuyMovie #MeetRyan
  • Instagram: #FreeGuyMovie #MeetRyan #SleevesUp
  • Twitter: #FreeGuyMovie #MeetRyan
  • Partnerships: Regional departments of health from around the United States
  • Influencers: Ryan Reynolds
  • Facebook:
“Guess what?! By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you’re not just helping to conquer COVID-19. You’ll also get free popcorn and soda at the theater when you come to see Free Guy! (I mean, who doesn’t love free movie theater popcorn?) [LINK]”
  • Instagram:
“Do you love me as much as I love me? Well, come meet me! Fully vaccinated Free Guy moviegoers (wow, that was a mouthful) are eligible to enter a raffle to hang out with me during a one-hour, meet-and-greet experience at your local theater. Get your shots and buy your movie tickets! More details can be found at the link in my bio.”
  • Twitter:
“Oh, hey. Remember us? We’re the stars of that one film… Free Guy. We know it’s been, well, months since you saw the trailer. But we promise it’s just as good as you remember. Better yet — want to meet Ryan? Great news! Fully vaccinated moviegoers have the chance to be entered in a raffle! [LINK]”
  • Facebook: Free Guy Movie. (2021). Facebook.com/freeguymovie
  • Free Guy (2021). (2021, August 11). IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6264654/
  • Instagram: Free Guy Movie. (2021). Instagram.com/freeguymovie
  • Twitter: Free Guy Movie. (2021). Twitter.com/freeguymovie

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Former Newspaper Entertainment Editor, turned DMO Media Relations Specialist • UF Graduate Student • Sharing my experience while learning from yours.

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Jennifer DiDomenico

Jennifer DiDomenico

Former Newspaper Entertainment Editor, turned DMO Media Relations Specialist • UF Graduate Student • Sharing my experience while learning from yours.

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