Universal Pictures Repo Men movie sells organs via bar code scanning
March 1, 2010
Repo Men film creative
Universal Pictures is running a promotion for its Repo Men movie that integrates mobile bar codes with the campaigns offline media to drive deeper engagement and buzz around the film.
The movies plot involves selling organs via bar code scanning so it is not only a good digital integration but also a cool tie-in with the subject of the film. In addition to helping Universal conceive this program, digital marketing agency 360i also coordinate with Red Laser, a mobile bar code scanner application.
The strategy was to give consumers a reward for their interest in the property, said Ben Blatt, manager of digital marketing at Universal, Universal City, CA. Movie marketing is typically very overt and doesn't try to hide anything.
A piece of artwork very often has images of the main stars in the film and a tagline to go with it, he said. When we decided to tease the film with compelling creative that was meant solely to pique the countrys interest in a world of artificial organs, we needed a way to provide them with more information.
The total number of people who are familiar with bar code scanners is growing every day, but it is still a small group in the population. However this group is a perfect demo for the film we are selling - young, tech-savvy males - and having a subtle call to action on a movie poster that doesn't have a lot of information to use a bar code scanner to get exclusive content is a compelling strategy we wanted to try and thus far it has been very successful.
The mobile component of the Repo Men marketing program is tied to a teaser artwork campaign Universal worked up.
The concept of the film is linked to a future where people can buy artificial organs called "Artiforgs" from a company named The Union.
These artiforgs can be bought to replace almost any part of the human body. They are very expensive and can be bought on credit.
For example, a new heart would cost $975,000 and similar to the current housing crisis, almost everyone was approved for the credit.
If the user miss a payment by more than 90 days, a Repo Man comes and removes the organ from that person.
The way the Repo Men discover if someone is past due on a payment is by using a scanner to read a bar code on the organ to determine the payment dates.
Based on this, Universal incorporated bar codes into all aspects of the creative for its marketing campaign, online and offline.
The artwork Universal created was provocative and placed outdoor in the top 15 markets around the country as well as online. It showed an artiforg such as a new kidney, with the price tag and the title treatment for the film.
Red Laser met two important needs for the program: it's one of the most popular mobile applications especially for tech-savvy early adopters, and they had the flexibility to incorporate real bar codes for fictitious products from the film, said David Berkowitz, director of emerging media and innovation for 360i, New York.
To complement this artwork and the overall campaign, Universal worked in a bar code into each piece of artwork that would be scannable and would give consumers more information on what they were seeing.
Scanning the heart artwork would launch a mobile page that showcases the specs between a human heart and an artiforg heart and using tongue-in-cheek humor, it more or less encourages people not to take care of themselves because they can always go buy a better heart.
There are QVC-style advertisements too. Overall, it is a way to bring people into the world of The Union and a world where they can buy artificial organs anytime.
The call to action for these bar codes is Scan here. Everything has a price. Activate with Red Laser.
Not only is mobile the ideal channel to fulfill this strategy, it seemed as though it was the only option, Mr. Blatt said. Bar code scanning in the U.S. is still new, but capitalizing on the mobile device that a large percentage of the population has - the iPhone - and integrating the mobile experience into the creative design on every piece of marketing for Repo Men was a natural fit.
It allows consumers to engage with our content instantly if they come across an advertisement featuring a bar code with no need to go back to their computer later and look it up, he said. It also is a great extension to a very robust Web-based campaign that features many of the same ideas, but in a slightly different way.
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