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Still a Virgin?

October 4, 2010

 

A few weeks ago my 13-year-old brother and I were in the car with my mom on the way home from lunch when she blurted out, “Still a virgin?!” Confused at her choice of a conversation topic, I asked for a little clarification. She was referring to a billboard on the side of Houston’s 59 highway that asked that very question followed by, “For Help Call 888-743-4335.” The last 15 minutes of the car ride home quickly turned into a discussion of why this generation is so crude and outrageous. I tuned her out and wondered if the billboard was really offering help in losing your virginity, or if it was just a way of catching our attention for something else. My poor brother just sat there completely quiet and completely uncomfortable.

When I got home my curiosity quickly led me to TheVirginityHit website indicated in the lower corner of the billboard. I laughed when I realized it was indeed intended to catch our attention for something else. The Sony’s Picture billboard was actually promoting the new movie ‘The Virginity Hit’ starring Will Ferrell which chronicles ‘Matt’s’ journey in losing his virginity and becoming a “man.”

 

Every day we are bombarded with commercials promoting the latest movies. Honestly, I rarely pay attention to previews because there are just too many. Sony Pictures realized this and found a way to make me pay attention. Not only that, but these daring billboards pushed me to go above and beyond what I am normally willing to do to seek out more information on my own. Sony’s PR for this movie was done thoughtfully and successfully. They understand the importance of consumer interaction. Their unique idea engaged their audiences through humor and controversy.

But did it actually work? Nearly 70,000 calls in the first 5 days says it definitely did along with thousands of new ‘likes’ on their facebook page. They also had thousands of people “tweeting for matt” on their twitter page. The #virginhit hash tag had people talking as a trending topic for several weeks. Their bold approach not only had people talking but the media as well! Many major city news stations and radio shows have dedicated segments to discussing the billboards. Some good, some bad.. but regardless they’re talking. The best part? They did it all for FREE! Whether the movie was actually good is irrelevant—they excelled in self promotion and strategically used social media to their advantage to reach out to the maximum amount of people.

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