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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Napoleon - Conquering the "There's Nothing We Can Do" Trend

Audience Honor in Insights & Trends


A movie about one of history's most famous leaders, created by a world-renowned director and starring acclaimed actors, Napoleon had all the ingredients for an indulging cinematic experience. The secret ingredient to Sir Ridley Scott's latest masterpiece was something no one saw coming...a viral Napoleon Bonaparte tiktok trend.

The Napoleon "There's Nothing We Can Do" trend campaign was designed to engage younger audiences on social media, particularly TikTok and Instagram, through a series of strategic beats. We aimed to demonstrate our studio's agility in adopting relevant trends quickly, our commitment to reaching a global audience, and our ability to create a dialogue with our target audience of Gen Z and cinephiles. 

This approach ensured our campaign stood out in the crowded digital landscape, significantly enhancing our title’s visibility and engagement with younger audiences. By capitalizing on the trend's playful aspect and the involvement of such prestigious talent such as Sir Ridley Scott, we created a standout campaign that strengthened our relevance and connection with our target audience on a global scale.

Strategy and Execution

The trend recontextualized Napoleon’s historical quote into a modern context, placing everyday mundane disappointments into the ever-dramatic landscape of Napoleon Bonaparte. Starting with the creation of our own film footage version of the trend, its virality and positive sentiment from other trend-users culminated to the  release of a piece featuring acclaimed director Sir Ridley Scott alongside one of the strongest creators to jump on the trend.

The first beat of our campaign focused on immediate engagement with our audience through interaction on social media platforms. Utilizing the Napoleon social handles, we responded to users' comments with customized GIFs and comments. This approach allowed us to introduce a playful tone to our brand pages and also amplified anticipation for subsequent campaign beats, demonstrating our commitment to engaging dialogue and community building.

Leveraging the initial buzz, we introduced a film footage version of the trend, nodding to the creators of the trend with the caption, "When you Conquer the world but people in 2023 make a trend out of you". This beat was designed to connect the trend more directly with our film and its star. We were able to localize this asset for 17 of our global markets, ensuring that our focus was on a global scale. 

As the trend surpassed a billion views, we proved there was indeed something we could do. Working with prominent TikTok creator and early adopter of the trend, Michael Hills, and the renowned director Sir Ridley Scott, the duo created a unique and memorable piece of content showing a saddened Michael learning he was not cast as the lead role in the film only to pan over to the director who declared "There's nothing we can do." 


In true Napoleon fashion, we put on our bicorn hats and were able to conquer the "There's Nothing We Can Do" trend by being on the front lines of the internet in a way that no one was expecting. 

The trend reached younger audiences with native content and exemplified the valuable lessons about the importance of rapid response to trends, the potential for global activation, and the effectiveness of leveraging popular culture and celebrity influence to create a viral marketing moment. User comments were particularly encouraging on these pieces, praising the studio’s ability to effectively engage with the trend and creating anticipation to see the film in theaters. 

Further amplification through Napoleon channels ensured that the campaign resonated well beyond our initial projections. The Michael Hills/Ridley Scott video emerged as a standout performer, amassing over 34 million views across TikTok and Instagram, with an engagement rate that was twice the benchmark. Additionally, the film footage version of the trend acheived a 40.7% engagement rate with 10 million US views and the meme was localized in 17 international markets to lean into this global phenomenom. Overall, Tiktok hashtags relating to the trend and film garnered billions of views, #Napoleon has over 3.6 billion views, #NapoleonMovie has over 74.3 million views and #NapoleonTrend has over 14.5 million views



Video for Napoleon - Conquering the "There's Nothing We Can Do" Trend

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Sony Pictures Entertainment


Entry Credits