Netflix came to us with a magical opportunity: launch the campaign for their blockbuster level coming-of-age magical fantasy film – an adaptation of The New York Times bestselling book The School for Good and Evil – with the goal of being THE next major stand-out in the crowded category and “not just another fairytale."
With long-running franchise potential, we worked with Netflix to create an Instagram campaign which would ignite existing book super-fans, build a distinctive and intriguing new magical world, and highlight the long-overdue arrival of a YA fantasy that puts female characters and their friendship front and center.
As a NYT best selling series, the first assignment was getting early buy-in from book superfans. To galvanize the existing evers and nevers, we DM’d franchise fans and notable BookTokers with an exclusive invite to elect into our Instagram Close Friends list. We then opened it up to all fans who commented whether they were Good or Evil on the film’s trailer, leading to the account adding over 1,000 people to Instagram’s Close Friends. Throughout the entirety of the campaign, this feature ran in secret parallel, providing first looks, BTS, and exclusives to this influential cohort – including personal messages from book author Soman Chainani.
After the superfans were enrolled, it became time to recruit new students. Within the pre launch phase coinciding with back-to-school season, the goal was to appeal to the widest audience funnel by broadly selling the film's concept, world, scope and stakes, and setting the stage for the VFX spectacle. Leveraging the inherent duality between good and evil, we were drawn to the idea that there are two sides to every story. This inspired the idea for a week-long social takeover for each school aimed to introduce fan’s to each group’s motivations, intentions, and members. Creatively, we accomplished this by leveraging the juxtaposition of good and evil through dark vs light.
While continuing to build out the new world, we then narrowed our focus to igniting the core YA fanbase by narrowing our focus on the breakout heroines Sophie and Agatha, their relationships and the teenage drama. In addition to premiering an exclusive TUDUM clip of Sophie’s dramatic makeover on Instagram, we gave fans a chance to identify with the personalities that arise from each group by inviting them to “choose their side.” Additionally, this phase was centered around giving the film a real-world influential stamp of approval through book signings with the Sophies, influencer events, digital and consumer product partnerships.
Our fluency in the fandom paid off for both viewers and Netflix. Fans were constantly rewarded on the campaign, with our agency going boots-on-the-ground to exclusive events like a Barnes and Noble signing with cast and Paul Fieg, to New York Comic-Con, and inches away from talent on the red carpet premiere. Close Friends were especially rewarded, with exclusive looks at these events, where Netflix would see nearly 70% of those superfans viewing the Close Friends Stories.
The Instagram account grew by more than 100% to 75.5K followers. Our Close Friends Stories, where we had added over 1,000 users who opted in by commenting on the trailer, saw engagement rates as high as 70% tuning in for our live event coverage.
The film was also an undeniable success, as The School for Good and Evil premiered as the #1 movie on Netflix in 84 countries.
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