Smile’ Viral Marketing Campaign Freaked Out MLB Fans With Creepy Grins In The Stands
Making money with a smile isn’t a bad performance, right? I suspect not — until you read the fine print and learn that you have to do it in the most public places, with thousands of complete strangers, and dead all over your face Twice when he realizes you’re more than just friendly.
That’s The Idea Behind Paramount’s Viral Marketing Ploy For The Aptly Titled Horror Movie Smile.
The film, which hits theaters today, includes a disturbing premise about being possessed by a criminal who does horrific deeds while grinning ear-to-ear like a demon-crazed madman. The studio has garnered a lot of viral buzz since placing paid smilers last week to be located in a prestigious venue — a friendly place that viewers (and TV cameras) couldn’t help but notice.
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What if nobody notices your new horror movie’s viral marketing campaign? This question plagued director Parker Finn last week. In Finn’s debut Smile (releases September 30), a malevolent supernatural entity takes over humans and forces them to grin and commit horrific deeds. As part of Paramount Pictures’ marketing campaign, his members of the cast were prominently placed at baseball games on Fridays, where they employed the biggest smiles they could muster. “I have to say that Paramount’s marketing was very clever with some of the tricks they had in place for this movie,” says Finn. “It was discussed a while ago and we were all crossing our fingers that someone might notice.”
Finn didn’t have to worry. The smiling viewer actually went viral on his social media, and the story was subsequently picked up by various media outlets, including Sports Illustrated’s online site si.com.
“It was happening just organically and it was overwhelming how much that took off,” says the director. “It was just instantly everywhere. Kudos for them for their terrific idea.”
Smile hits theaters Sept. 30. Watch the film’s trailer below.