These Movie Marketing Campaigns Are So Brilliant, You Won't Even Realize They're Promoting Anything

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander arrives on the red carpet for the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE (Photo credit should read ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images

In the world of online dating, things aren't always as they seem. Tinder users at Austin's SXSW festival learned that the hard way this weekend, getting totally punked by a profile from a beautiful 25-year old woman named Ava, who "likes to draw. And busy intersections in cities" (whatever that means). Attracted users swiped right and then got roped into a conversation with her — not about SXSW and if they should meet up — but about love, human emotions, and what attracts one person to another. Deep stuff, right? Especially deep for someone who is actually a Tinderbot. That's right — Ava is actually a brilliant marketing ploy for the sci-fi film Ex Machina, which premiered at SXSW on Saturday night.

Sure, this campaign might be toying with your emotions, but you gotta give it a lot of credit. Ex Machina is a film about deceptive artificial intelligence, so a Tinderbot in the world of online dating is the perfect way to promote a film like this, because what's deceptive than online dating these days? Not much. The bot lured users in with a photo of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who stars in the film with Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, and that gets folks already attracted — in another way — to seeing this film. Plus, the bot points users to Ava's Instagram account with the flirty promise of more pics, but really this leads to the reveal about the movie — and more info on Ex Machina.

This is a simple, but amazing marketing campaign that's already creating a lot of buzz for a movie most of the popular didn't know about until right now. But Ex Machina isn't the only movie to launch an attention-grabbing promotion. Here are three other great marketing campaigns by movies that had people take notice.

Flying People for Chronicle

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Remember there were reports of people flying in New York City? Well, that stunt was part of a marketing campaign to promote the 2012 movie Chronicle. The images of the "flying people," which were actually human-shaped RC planes, went viral and were reported on news outlets like the Today Show, Bloomberg News, Los Angeles Times, and more. Fox teamed with NYC-based viral marketing agency Thinkmodo to make this happen.

Real Kwik-E-Marts for The Simpsons Movie

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In anticipation for the long-awaited The Simpsons Movie in 2007, Fox and 7-Eleven teamed up to turn the real-life convenient store into the fictional one from Springfield. Not only that, these life-sized Kwik-E-Marts featured other fictional-turned-real Simpsons merchandise like Krusty-O's, Buzz Cola, Squishees (The Simpsons version of the Slurpee), and Homer's beloved pink-frosted donuts with sprinkles.

The Blair Witch Project as a True Story

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This 1999 film revolutionized movie marketing and is most likely the reason for all the viral campaigns audiences see today. Since its midnight premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the classic horror film marketed itself as a true story made up of found footage. It totally creeped people out and went viral via word-of-mouth, a.k.a. the old-fashioned way. People were fascinated by the movie and the Blair Witch itself. This translated into box-office sales of $250 million for an indie flick that cost less than $50,000 to make.

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