Smiling is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of horror films, but what if a smile was the entire twisted premise for the film? In partnership with Paramount Picture’s, Smile, Paramount Brand Studio was challenged to create a campaign that focused on this key theme of the movie, while not giving any spoilers away. We set out to create a buzz-worthy, large-scale and creepy campaign leveraging our key MTV and VH1 show talent that could help us elevate the creative across platforms.
Inspired by the film’s storyline - where merely seeing “the smile” caused the curse to keep spreading - our team created “Pass the Smile.” In order to achieve the scale and vision for the campaign, we knew we needed to tap into a large roster of talent. So we enlisted multiple cast members from three of our biggest hit franchises - MTV's The Challenge, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and Wild ’N Out. The chief obstacle we faced was that these talent resided all over the US and two of our shows were in active production. Our team coordinated with show producers to help us capture a simple yet sinister smile from each of our talent. In total, we produced 3 custom vignettes featuring a 10x MTV and VH1 talent. Each creative cut from channel talent to channel talent, not saying anything... just creepily smiling and building a sense of utter terror. With the help of our smiling but creepy talent and a little VFX magic, our piece felt straight out of a horror film.
Our social-first campaign utilized a powerful combination of talent with high-value social currency and engaging content that was optimized for today’s generation of online users that prefer shorter content. We maximized reach by rolling out creative across individual talent’s Instagram pages and MTV and VH1 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram handles. Fans loved the creative, with numerous fans accounts reposting our vignettes. Overall, creative reached over 118.3M fans and was able to help launch Smile to the top spot at the box office, where the original horror film generated $22 million its opening weekend.