Sharknado 2 Threw Away Traditional Marketing and Won

In Featured on App, Marketing and Sales by Vaughn Highfield

Sharknado 2

The great white tears up marketing traditions

With Shark Week creeping up on us like a certain toothy fish on an unsuspecting boat crew, it seems apt that everyone’s favourite sharky b-movie sequel Sharknado 2 has managed to hit it big whilst eluding the traditional forms of movie advertising.

That’s right, Anthony Ferrante’s sequel managed to completely sidestep film trailers, movie poster, YouTube adverts, banner ads, etc. Instead, it relied upon the near one-man effort of actor Ian Ziering’s social media presence – alongside some help from various brands on Twitter and a very receptive audience who all felt ‘in’ on the joke.

Debuting on Syfy, Sharknado 2 pulled in a total of 1.6 million demo viewers with 3.9 million viewers in total – and that’s alongside an engaged set of Twitter users.

“We didn’t spend any money on formal marketing for it,” said Syfy president Dave Howe. “This was driven by PR and marketing and social media fuelling the fire. And then an incredible number of brands got caught up in the fun.”

Although, while it did eschew the ideas of traditional marketing, Sharknado 2 still relied on some friendly sponsorship to help it along. The film itself features heavy product placement, and that meant that many brands wanted to protect their investments and so started engaging and tweeting about the film’s premier on Syfy.

But, primarily, it was word of mouth that won over viewers around the world, “a year’s worth of stoking the fire with news and tidbits and things that kept the Sharknado fire alive,” explained Howe. And it’s of no surprise that such a film would spread and be successful through social media, as Sharknado found similar fame through such means – although the situation surrounding it was far grimmer than the sequel’s rise to prominence.

Because of these efforts, Sharknado 2: The Second One actually made Syfy the top cable network in prime time, and made it the top telecast in all TV on the day of the film’s premier.

And, unlike other marketing campaigns, people are still actively talking about what they saw, and continuing conversations held from before the film aired.

Perhaps the future really is in social marketing, you just have to make sure you approach it in a way that really squeezes the most out of it.