Year In Review: Top 15 Viral Campaigns Of 2013

Movie Viral Marketing Campaigns Of 2014

Here at, we cover any thing from viral campaigns to the social media aspects of a movie or television show. Here in the U.S. and overseas, viral marketing has given fans the opportunity to be a part of the movie going experience in more ways than just purchasing a ticket. You can vote for outcomes, read interviews from the characters in the film, take part in scavenger hunts, decode a mystery message, and more. If it has anything to do with a viral campaign, we are going to be there to cover it.

Now with the year coming to an end, we are looking back at some of the most memorable viral campaigns of the year. For some of these movies haven’t even come out yet, but they have already left their mark with strong and extensive viral marketing. So hit the jump to see what our favorites of the year are.

Ending up on the bottom of this top 10 is Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. The film was originally scheduled for a 2014 holiday release, but was pushed back for a summer 2015 release. But before the film was rescheduled, Tomorrowland had one of the most intriguing viral campaigns of the year. Even before The Optimist website was launched, the mystery box, which contained Walt Disney relics that inspired the film, had everyone interested. While the viral campaign was running, The Optimist website had everyone, Disney fans and more, going on scavenger hunts in Walt’s old hang outs to this year’s D23 Expo. Unfortunately, it was halted since it was rescheduled, but we could see it revived once again later in 2014/2015.

Veronica Mars
The film that proved that you can greenlight a movie solely based on fan funding via kickstarter. The Veronica Mars movie proved that the crowd funding method can work, given the right incentive. It took only 11 hours for the Kickstarter project to reach it’s goal of $2 million. By April, fans had pledged $5.2 million, well above the goal that Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell had set. Fans donated anything from $1 to $100 to $10,000, and anyone pledged to the cause received a token of thanks that can come in the form of t-shirts, cell phone greetings, walking the red carpet premiere, and of course a small role in the film. Its success also had its imitators, and not all of them had the same success. Remember Darcy’s Walk Of Shame? In the end, film development has been revolutionized thanks in part to the success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter.

Star Trek Into Darkness
There were a lot of things to like about the Star Trek Into Darkness’ viral campaign. The marketing team got the fans involved with easter egg hunts, the search for the 1701 – a website that could have easily been missed if you blinked during the trailer – , and fan inspired art work. The fact that they kept the villain of the movie such a mystery may have led to the film’s box office success; although that is debatable considering how many people already suspected the villain was Kahn, despite what Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and cast have said. Still Star Trek Into Darkness had a strong viral presence with timely event related material, and clever ways to engage the fans.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Sadly we didn’t give this film it’s much deserved coverage, but we are going to give credit where credit is due. Building upon the already successful viral campiagn from the first Hunger Games movie – using the same site and the Capitol Couture fashion blog, Catching Fire introduced new ways to get fans excited for the film. The #ticktock12 campaign was one giant countdown to the film’s release. For 12 straight weeks, the Lionsgate marketing team would release songs from the official soundtrack, announced that advanced tickets were going on sale, held a contest to attend the premiere of the film. Tying it all in with social media spread the fire (like that pun) even further, as fans continued to fan the flames of high interest by using the #ticktock12 hashtag. If the fans kept coming back for more, then you know you have a significant, scratch that, a successful viral campaign on your hands.

You’re Next
This one didn’t go under our radar as much, but it was a viral campaign that could have gone virtually unknown if you weren’t paying attention. Luckily that wasn’t the case. The film had already generated some interest thanks in part to the positive reviews it received during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. Lionsgate then picked it up for distribution. The fearful notion that people could actually be hunting other peopel for fun, got the marketing team leave their mark by putting animal masks of famous Los Angeles statues or very ominous outlines of the animals behind the mayhem. The team also delivered the same animal masks worn in the film to various movie blogs, including our very own.

Though the trailer was released just a few weeks ago, Warner Bros used Comic-Con to debut its viral campaign for Godzilla. Using an unoccupied building, the marketing team set up the Godzilla Encounter for fans to experience the King Of Monsters first hand. And you know they had something special when fans had to sign up to experience the Godzilla Encounter. A few months after Comic-Con, the MUTO website was launched. Baring some resemblance to the Pacific Rim Kaiju sitings website, MUTO offered glimpses of Godzilla’s massive destruction, but the site was more than that. It was actually a teaser site to announce that the first trailer would debut the very next day. With so much viral potential, Godzilla is one of our most anticipated films of 2014.

X-Men Days Of Future Past
Fox’s sequel to their successful film franchise first had it’s biggest viral impact at the San Diego Comic-Con when they debuted the very first look of the head of a mutant hunting Sentinel. Trask Industries was the go to site to find out all you needed to know about Bryan Singer’s upcoming film, of course it provided just enough images for fans to keep on asking for more. But then came a new viral website site. then took a new turn giving us probably one of the more controversial viral campaigns of the year. The site launched in a timely manner, and made its official debut around the anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Modeled as a conspiracy theory website, the BentBullet said that it was Magneto who was the one who killed JFK, and not Lee Harvey Oswald. Not only that, but it provided reasons as to why Magneto went forward with his plans of assassination, which was actually a story that bridged the gap between the First Class and DOFP.

Man Of Steel
The viral marketing for Man of Steel took a different approach from the rest of the films. It sent out a message, literally. The DSRW website (and the official website) started it all with sending out a message determined to be unclear due to the massive amounts of static. It was up to fans to clear it all up and dechiper it. But that wasn’t the only message sent out during the viral campaign. More mysterious transmissions started to appear on the viral website. Once decoded, they lead to other sites like countdowns to the new trailer, hidden Easter Eggs, and better yet: even more viral websites. But there were also a few fun games to please to ease off the scavenger hunting pressure. Man of Steel apps like the Man of Steel Glyph Cypher allowed Superman fans to find out their Kryptonian heritage. And famous celebrities tried to figure out how the Superman shaves if he is supposedly indestructible. Even after the movie was released, the Man of Steel viral continued to thrive. Heading into the release of the Blu-ray/DVD, a viral site to teach you about the Krypton’s language, culture, and military was launched. Though it didn’t have anything to do with the viral campaign per say, it was a nifty marketing gag to get fans roped in to buying the DVD.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
If there was anything that would take the top prize of being the best viral campaign for movies this year, it would have to be Anchorman 2: The Legend continues. Everyone across the country was literally inundated with massive amounts of Ron Burgundy’s presence that could range from Dodge commercials, news broadcast appearances, his very own museum exhibit, an instagram-inspired contest, and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor called Scotchy Scotch Scotch (it was actually butter Scotch). Perhaps it may have been a bit too much, considering the film debuted at number 2 at the box office. Our very own Alex Gerage called the campaign obnoxious, due to the fact that comedies lack “characters with deep stories that we invest in emotionally or identify with personally, which is why you don’t see many expansive viral campaigns” for films like Anchorman 2. That being said, the film has changed the way we view viral campaigns.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The movie isn’t even out yet, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 already has a strong viral presence, and it is only just getting started. First the Daily Bugle tumblr site launched, offering us that bridge between the first and second film. But it went even further with teasing us with villains who could appear in the villainous group: The Sinister Six. Sneaky and hidden websites, like, in the trailers virtually went unnoticed for a week, until those who dissected the trailer frame by frame found a new site. So what can we expect in the next year? Not really sure, but with more villains abound, and the Sinister Six yet to emerge, we have very high expectations for the film’s viral campaign.

It may not have been the most extensive viral marketing campaigns for a movie, but Carrie did have a viral presence this year, and you didn’t even have to decode any messages or do any sort of traveling. No all you had to do was watch a video on YouTube. Though the film wasn’t the box office smash Sony was hoping it would be, the viral prank proved to be a huge success. The telekinetic coffee shop prank is the one of the top ten videos on YouTube this year. Ranking at number eight, the video took the world by storm by raking in 51 million views.

Another fun viral campaign for a movie that tanked at the box office was Oldboy. Despite being one of the worst movies of the year, Oldboy’s viral marketing was fun. Taking a page from the character’s 20 mysterious detainment, the people over at FilmDistrict created the Oldboy Hotel page. On it, viewers got a chance to see what Joe Ducett (Josh Brolin) was missing through 20 different posters, each of them covering a different event of the respective year. They also got fans to be a part of the experience by asking them #eattheclues. In this contest, participants would take photos of their Dim Sum entrees in hopes of winning actual hammer prop from the movie. Again, a fun viral, just a disappointing movie.

Pacific Rim
While Pacific Rim didn’t meet WB Studios’ expectations, it was great to cover the viral campaign. Part of that reason is because the film’s originality. It wasn’t adaptation or a sequel, but it was based in part of nerds and geeks’ fascination with mechas and kaijus. These mechanical behemoths were not only fun to look at, but they were also fun to create as well, as the marketing team gave us an opportunity to build our own. Not only that, but they also gave us a chance to take part in training to become a Jaeger pilot. Viral videos of kaiju attacks and forecast attacks gave the film more of a real world presence, and put the fan in the film, so to speak. The viral marketing didn’t just stretch to websites or videos of Ron Perlman selling Kaiju body parts – which some popular movie blogs received from the studio -, also posters as well. To top it all off, fans got to show how excited they were for the film by customize their social media pages with a Pacific Rim wallpaper generators

The Great Gatsby
The viral marketing campaign was a nod to the classic 1920s party style that is long forgotten, but lives on through movies like these. Fans got to create their own Gatsby-inspired logo using a monogram maker, and even had a chance to party like it was 1920 through various contests.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 didn’t need any help on the viral marketing front, a film like Iron Man 3 doesn’t really need any help at all in fact. But with the film heading into Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic universe, a viral marketing campaign would give us a sneak peek at to what Phase 2 would look like. Disney had a lot of advantages in marketing a film like this considering that they have an entire theme park at their disposal. Suits from each of the respective films made their debut at the Innovations building in the Tomorrowland portion of the theme park. But that wasn’t the only thing driving the public’s interest in the film. Using the power of twitter, fans tweeted the #unlockironman to reveal a never before seen clip from the film.

So what were some of your favorite virals of the year?

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