20th Century Fox: reinventing storytelling

When 20th Century Fox say that we need to reinvent the way stories are told, then it’s probably worth listening.

Over the last 18 months 20th Century Fox has transformed the way they market their films online and in a recent project with Unskippable Labs at Google they tried 3 different approaches for 3 movies with some really interesting results.

“For marketers, the battle for consumer attention has never been tougher….that’s why about 18 months ago we began to rethink our approach to video marketing.”

Jason Runyan, Head of Digital Marketing, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


They ran video ad sequencing campaigns on 3 movies set for home release:

  1. Alita: Battle Angel
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. The Predator

The 3 sequencing options they tested were:

  1. Tease, Amplify, Echo 
  2. The conditional mini-series
  3. The Direct shot


Tease, Amplify, Echo – Alita: Battle Angel

This involved creating a sequence including 3 video ads of different lengths:

  1. 30 seconds – Tease
  2. 50 seconds – Amplify
  3. 20 seconds – Echo

“Our most notable observation from this test was how much success we had by simply lifting scenes from the film”

Chris Spelman – Marketing Director, Fox Theatrical


“The long form videos drove higher levels of engagement and intent across the board.”

Chris Spelman – Marketing Director, Fox Theatrical

…and here it is


The conditional mini-series

This sequence was used for Deadpool 2 – already a box office success so Fox were aiming to beat all the records for the most downloaded action movie of all time.

The conditional sequencing involved serving viewers content based on their reaction to the previous video ad they have been served.

So if they skipped the ad they got a direct message froom Deadpool himself….

The other video ads in the sequence included a new chapter from the ‘Super Duper Cut’ – a scene that hadn’t featured in the original cinema version of the movie. The final ad in the sequence was a simple call to action letting the viewer know that the video was now available for download.

“This approach have us a canvas to foster engagement with fans and was a key factor in delivering our goal to deliver the higgest digital download conversion rate that we’d ever seen for an action film.”


The Direct Shot

The final movie they used during this test was The Predator – which hadn’t really worked out at the box office so needed a different approach.

They went with a 5 bumper ad sequence (6 seconds) aimed at drawing viewers in and creating an audience for the home release of the movie.

“Brand Lift survey results showed that 5 bumper sequence campaigns drove higher purchase intent than single skippable ads – suggesting creative variety and frequency trumps frequency alone.”

This is my favourite of the ads in the sequence:

This is only a summary of the findings from the report which can be found in full at Think with Google blog.