Suicide Squad, the next instalment in DC’s Extended Cinematic Universe, was due to hit cinemas in August 2016. Accompanying the film, and released through Atlantic Records, was an eclectic soundtrack comprised of original and pre-existing songs.

The Brief

We were tasked with promoting the soundtrack in a way that simultaneously stayed true to the film but also distinguished it as a separate entity. It was a mixture of previous releases & new songs, spanning multiple and diverse genres, the needs of the campaign could not be placated with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

What we did

Artists on the soundtrack ranged from Twenty One Pilots to Lil Wayne - they appealed to a divided audience, the lone unifying thread was the film itself. However, while this was a big studio blockbuster with wide appeal, as a Comic-Book movie it came with a unique and passionate audience of its own. We needed a campaign strategy that balanced these elements and appealed at once to Rock fans, Hip-Hop fans and fans of Comic-Book Movies.

In order to reach our audience we created three bespoke targeting groups across social media platforms & YouTube. Finding that the Comic-Book segment was the biggest and widest in terms of the people it reached, we made this our focal pillar. We built unique targeting segments of super engaged Comic Book Movie fans across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube optimising amongst this audience between Rock and Hip-Hop audiences. Creative was central to the success of the campaign, for standout ideas and design we worked closely with the Atlantic Records UK team. They conceived and delivered a raft of bespoke creative tailored to individual platforms and target audiences, in both tone and style. We heightened the effect of this strategy by using sequential targeting across platforms to deliver a progression of creatives as we began to broaden out our target audience, this enabled us to story-tell – something core to differentiating our project from the huge film release budgets.

To reflect the anarchic themes of the film and the creativity inherent in its look we used disruptive creatives where the content looked like it was taking over the surrounding space (literally jumping out of its pre-described boundaries). Insight identified Tumblr as a key platform; as a home-away-from-home for many music fans and a place that valued fan art, Comic Book culture, and general graphic design, it was an ideal location to stage our campaign.

The Results

In its first week the soundtrack debuted at #2 on the Compilation Album chart. Two original tracks from the soundtrack went on to be big successes – Sucker For Pain peaked at #11 in the charts and Heathens peaked at #5, they were certified Silver and Gold respectively.

On YouTube, our activity and strategy went on to earn over three times the value of paid investment in free earned views. The ‘platform hack’ creative strategy saw huge surges in engagement; Instagram delivered the highest post like-rate to spend ratio and the disruptive Tumblr GIF activity produced the highest ever engagement rate on the platform for paid activity.

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