To promote its sci-fi film Interstellar, Paramount Pictures sought an innovative partner that rated high for tech credibility. Google more than filled the bill, and the Interstellar campaign was the first time it integrated several of its platforms to market a single film.
The campaign launched in September 2014, prior to the movie’s release, with the Interstellar Space Hub, a website produced by Google where visitors could conduct a “space hunt” across a virtual galaxy for exclusive content about the movie. The content was continually refreshed, encouraging repeat visits. Fans could also download an interactive solar system app on Google Play.
Three of the movie’s stars, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, and Matthew McConaughey, participated in a Google+ Hangout, which was streamed live at the Smithsonian Institute. Social media posts from YouTube stars slated to ask questions during the Hangout raised awareness of the event, as did posts from NASA and missions in an app from mobile gaming company Ingress.
Google for Education tapped into the science behind the film, creating 21 lesson plans for classrooms covering topics ranging from astronomy to relativity. It promoted the plans with a blog post from Interstellar director Christopher Nolan and emails to teachers.
What’s more, Interstellar was the only movie included in Google’s 2014 Zeitgeist campaign, in which the company highlights the most searched-for topics of the year. The Zeitgeist campaign included an online video featuring the film, a TV spot that aired on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and a digital billboard in Times Square during the holiday season.
The partnership continued well after the film’s theatrical debut. In November, fans were invited to submit videos, photos, music, artwork, poetry, or other media that best represented mankind’s time on earth for inclusion in a short documentary that was timed to the March 2015 release of the film on Google Play.
The more than 7,500 submissions for the documentary exceeded expectations four times over, the lesson plans were downloaded more than 12,000 times, and other metrics exceeded goals as well. Perhaps most important, Interstellar’s global box office take hit nearly $700 million—all in all, pretty stellar results.