Let’s face it, you’ve seen the Minions everywhere. It seems like they’re inescapable and the crazy thing is that it’s all by design. In order to prep audiences for the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru, Universal launched a marketing campaign for the animated film in a way we’ve never seen before. The prequel to Despicable Me had a targeted plan — speak to Gen Z. According to Bloomberg, Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) has surpassed Millennials and become the largest demographic and source of income across all industries.
Universal invested a whopping $278 million dollars into their marketing budget for this project and they weren’t shy about spending it. Brands like IHOP, Olipop, and Supergoop, along with Japanese graphic artist Verdy and music producer Lyrical Lemonade, all incorporated the Minions by either creating special products around the characters or by simply pasting them on already existing products.
The budget also included online content, such as the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club releasing 3 comedy videos with featured players interacting with the Minions and even tapped into NBC, Universal’s sister company, to do a rework of The Office (US) theme song and replacing the cast with the Minions.
If you are already in awe of this insane amount of marketing reach, wait, there’s more. On top of brand collaborations and online content, there were live activations.
The U.K. team organized the opening of the Despicable Discs store in London’s Soho district on June 18, a tribute to the 1970’s backdrop from Minions: The Rise of Gru. The pop-up record store was an opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the general theme of the movie and included things such as hidden rooms, DJ sets, and a ton of Instagram opportunities.
Social media has without a doubt played a larger-than-life part in modern marketing strategies. Universal not only gave guests Instagram opportunities at their London pop-up, but also created Snapchat AR extensions to promote the animated film and has had explosive success on TikTok.
Weirdly enough, the popularity on TikTok can be credited to Gen Z and their meme/boredom humor style. The hashtag #Gentleminions has over 112 million views and will likely continue to climb throughout the rest of July. The meme trend involves dressing up in a suit and tie — maybe even bringing a singular banana with them — and attending the movie and in some cases causing the trend-followers to get kicked out of the theater.
Whether you like them or not, the Minions are taking over (which I’m sure Gru is perfectly happy with). Minions: The Rise of Gru is now playing in theaters.
Speaking of marketing, did you know that AI is smart enough to generate marketing copy now?!
Photos via Universal/Illumination