Hunt for the Wilderpeople broke box office records with an opening weekend take of over $1.2 million and it has gone on to win critical acclaim across the world.
There’s no doubt that the film is a local cinematic pleasure, but sometimes this isn’t enough to secure commercial success. Marketing, or the lack thereof, can often play a major role in whether or not a film succeeds.
Fortunately, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which recently won the gong for Best Independent Distributor Marketing campaign at the annual NZ Motion Picture Industry Council awards, also had a pretty hefty marketing effort behind it.
The campaign was a massive collaborative effort, with contributions from Madman Entertainment, Piki Films, Mediaworkshop (Media Strategy), Double Denim (Digital and Sponsorship Strategy) and 818 Entertainment (Publicity). Many of those credited for this campaign were also involved in 2015’s award-winning campaign for their work on Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s vampire mockumentary, What We Do In The Shadows (2014).
Rolling out across a multitude of touch points, the Hunt for the Wilderpeople campaign was a varied effort, of which the trailer was only a small element.
In addition to this video, the marketing team arranged a gala premiere simulcast that attracted media attention.
There was also significant amount of digital activity, including a social campaign that called on kiwis to Tweet under #nzbush for a chance to meet the film’s lead actor Julian Dennison.
— Wilderpeople (@wilderpeople) April 13, 2016
Air New Zealand, Trade Me, the Department of Conservation, Tourism NZ and the New Zealand Defence Force all also lent support to the campaign, leading to even more engagement.
In response to why they gave the film such a big push across so many channels, producer and distributor Carthew Neal said it was about ensuring the film reached Kiwi families all over the country.
“This film was made for all kiwis so it was important everyone felt included from day one of its release,” Neal said.
“We worked closely with exhibitors across the country to create a nationwide community of local advocates. We wanted to do things a little bit differently, and asked everyone to go the extra mile to ensure the campaign matched the quality of the film. The team were agile and extremely hard working. It was a challenging but rewarding experience as a first time distributor and I am incredibly proud of the team behind the film and its release.”