Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox bank on unique app partnerships
Sony Pictures Entertainment partnered with beauty app developer Meitu to promote the latest sequel in the “Insidious” horror franchise with augmented reality (AR) filters that transform viewers into ghoulish creatures, according to a press release. The “Inisidious: The Last Key” filters and makeup looks are available on Meitu’s flagship apps, BeautyPlus and MakeupPlus.
BeautyPlus has three filters to bring users into the movie’s purgatorial spirit world, the Further. The filters integrate interactive elements that respond to user movements to transform the user's face into a demon, create ghostly silhouettes behind the user, and pierce the user's throat with a demonic hand. MakeupPlus features goth-like makeup looks inspired by the movie's ominous lighting and demonic elements. The look transforms the user with smoky makeup, icy contact lenses and bloody lips. A dead hand pierces the user's throat with a key-shaped finger.
In other news, 20th Century Fox Film has exclusively partnered with T-Mobile to offer exclusive deals and content to users of the carrier's Tuesdays app for upcoming films "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," "Red Sparrow," "Deadpool 2," "Alita: Battle Angel" and "Dark Phoenix," the film studio said in a press release. Tickets can be redeemed through the Atom Tickets app.
Movie ticket sales dropped 6% last year, news that has likely spurred film studios to be more creative about how they market new releases. While film studios have embraced digital marketing, they also still invest heavily in traditional media even as younger consumers — who have been big movie-goers in the past — are spending more time online and in apps.
For 20th Century Fox, the news shows how the studio is trying to get in front of T-Mobile's tens of millions of customers by offering them deals on tickets, exclusive content and contests. This year's tie-up follows a partnership last year between T-Mobile, the film studio and Atom Tickets for "War for the Planet of the Apes," that the companies reported was a success.
With horror films having a moment, especially among younger consumers, Sony is banking on interest in AR to offer a themed experience.
While beauty app developers like Meitu, Modiface and Perfect Corp. have helped cosmetics brands create mobile campaigns to promote makeup and fashion merchandise, it’s interesting to see an expansion into film promotion. But that’s where movie studios can reach younger audiences who are less likely to watch TV than people over age 35. Meitu apps are installed on more than 1.5 billion mobile devices, the company says, giving it a platform to reach a wide audience for promotions.
Social media apps like Snap’s Snapchat have been very active in partnering with film and TV studios to promote movies and shows. NBC Universal and Perfect Corp. last month partnered for a "Pitch Perfect 3" promotion that let people virtually try on makeup looks inspired by eight of the movie's lead characters.
Facebook, the social network with 2 billion users worldwide, last year selected China’s Meitu to showcase three augmented reality effects for Facebook’s camera function. The company’s AR Studio lets artists and developers create AR experiences such as animated frames, masks and interactive effects that respond to motion and interactions during Facebook Live broadcasts. Facebook said in a blog post that more than a third of beauty shoppers (and more than half of millennials) agree that their mobile device is quickly becoming their most important shopping tool. Meitu’s apps were already hugely popular in China before taking the U.S. by storm last year with its photo editor that transforms selfies into anime-style cartoons.