Jarter Jargon

Paramount’s Paranormal Activity (Case Study)

Posted on: April 24, 2012

How do you get people’s attention when hundreds of movies come out every year? Better question: how do you get people’s attention with absolutely no marketing budget?

Paramount studios launched an extremely successful campaign in order to market the film Paranormal Activity in a way that would shape movie marketing in the future. Paramount started marketing the film by screening it and recording the crowd’s reaction. The resulting videos went viral and also lead to two more sequels.


Twitter activity generally dies out during the night, but Paranormal Activity was able to capitalize on late-night Twitter conversations. After seeing the movie, some moviegoers were unable to sleep and would tweet about how scary the movie was, playing into the big hype around the film. Paranormal Activity became a huge trending topic that became the longest trending topic on Twitter for any of Paramount’s films.

But how did this campaign work out so well? By utilizing the basic services provided by Twitter. Create a topic, get people talking about it, then play into the hype created by your audience. The viral videos of crowd reactions coupled with the ingenious mining of late-night Twitter conversations proved to be a worthy campaign.


As far as Paramount’s social media presence, with almost 175,000 Facebook page likes and almost 200,000 twitter followers, Paramount Pictures is doing a great job of connecting and engaging its followers. They tweet quite frequently with several tweets every day. Most are retweets from their followers or information of upcoming titles as well as their corporate charitable causes (i.e. Viacommunity Day and pet shelter drives). Their account tweets all hours of the day, even on weekends. Their consistent feed of information as well as engagement with their audience is very impressive.


Paramount’s Youtube channel specific to Paranormal Activity has since been updated with the arrival of Paranormal Activity 2 and 3. It now only features 12 videos for Paranormal Activity 3.  Total, the channel has 5,010 subscribers and over 4.5 million total views.

The most impressive campaign was the premier theater selection for Paranormal Activity 3. The movie originally premiered on October 21st, 2011. However, the movie premiered three days early for the 20 cities that tweeted the most requests for the film. This created a Twitterverse explosion. Everyone wanted to see the movie first, and Paramount’s tactic had movie fans falling right into their lap. In just under a month, the top 20 cities alone had a total of almost 44,000 tweets.


After reading and researching this extraordinary story of a “wouldn’t even be close to premiering in the US” film to the Twitter extravaganza that ensued, it really is no surprise as to the power that social media holds.  It shows that even without a marketing budget, social media sites are free services that provide priceless marketing leverage.


1 Response to "Paramount’s Paranormal Activity (Case Study)"

This is very interesting Josh! It is the first I have heard about this campaign, but from your description I can really see how successful it was. I think the idea of prescreening the movie in cities who tweeted the most about it really shows the power of social media. It got people talking about the movie and made a movie that would have otherwise not been successful, a smash hit. Great case study!

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