Don’t Look Up

Everybody’s buzzing about the film Don’t Look Up, now ranked #1 on Netflix.

When the movie hit theaters last month, it was dead on arrival. Rotten Tomatoes and critics both gave it an emphatic thumbs down. Without explosions, a hit single or superheroes in tights, the film looked doomed.

Then, things started looking uhhh, up.

On Christmas eve, Don’t Look Up debuted on Netflix and immediately lit up social media posts. After just a few days, the ground began to rumble. Street-level drumbeats resonated across the land. Without much pre-release hype, good old word-of-mouth took over. Friends told friends to check out Don’t Look Up.

And we did.

To date, the movie trailer has more than 30 million views on YouTube alone. People proved the irrelevance of film reviews and saw Don’t Look UP as a star-studded, thinly veiled warning about the perils of ignoring science. It’s a hard look at political power and corruption without being preachy…which is very hard to pull off.

So what happened?

Here’s my take. It was the perfect storm for Netflix. They tapped the power and reach of the small screen – during a raging pandemic – when everyone’s stuck inside and desperate for something fresh. Surrounded by a weak crop of holiday films, Don’t Look Up broke through the clutter. Credit Leonardo DiCaprio for recruiting a terrific cast of friends. Sure, big stars drew attention. But A-listers aren’t a lock for success anymore. The magic kicked in when the movie’s climate warning ignited the pro-science community.

More than anything, Don’t Look Up is the blueprint for reverberation, the holy grail of marketing. The film wasn’t driven by annoying hype. Instead, it built excitement from the ground up, sending ripples across the country.

The word spread virally, organically, and for all the right reasons.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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