Even before RoboCop hit theaters, many were questioning if it was a good idea to release a remake of the Paul Verhoeven classic that sought to satirize societies’ obsession with violence, sex, and other vices. Though the remake has garnered mixed reviews, it could have been much worse without a little help from the viral marketing front. So the people behind the viral marketing campaign created OmniCorp websites, Facebook pages, Twitter Accounts, and YouTube videos, to give fans the kind of hope they needed that said this Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop is just as good as the Verhoeven classic. Hit the jump to read the review.
The film had a lot going against it, so viral marketing seemed like an obvious choice to get the public on their side. Though the viral campaign started in 2012, the film was pushed from its August 2013 release to February 2014. So the campaign had an extra couple of months for that push. But as the this weekend’s box office has shown us, not to many people cared for the sleek new look of RoboCop update with today’s visual technology – not even our own Kevin Costain – instead they chose to see About Last Night, which is a remake of a romcom, or revisited The Lego Movie.
To put that into perspective, the OmniCorp Facebook page only has a total of 29,300 (followers), where as About Last Night has 472,000. To be fair, that is comparing one film to a faux company. The official RoboCop Facebook page has a nice 866,000 fan following. But some of the problem with the OmniCorp’s Facebook was its engagement. There were announcements fans should tune in to see what Samuel L. Jackson’s character Pat Novak had to say about OmniCorp, but didn’t specify where or when it would happen, which left some to search on the OmniCorp site, the Facebook page, even Twitter. But nothing showed up. Unless you count empty promises as something. So the OmniCorp site served it’s cliched purpose of acting as a faux business site by showing new products, revealing new technologies, and showing that they were just more than a technological conglomerate by appealing to those who may be “robophobic” by unveiling robotic arms and legs. Again, just another average Facebook page for a faux business. No personality, no real engagement. And amassing only 29.3K fans since 2012, shows that you lost interest in pushing the viral marketing campaign at some point in time. Just posting pictures and videos (mostly of clips and trailers). Maybe that’s why no one really noticed the page existed.
While the Facebook campaign lacked substance, the viral videos were what really worked. The future CES Keynote speech mimicked everything you would normally see at a CES keynote speech, but it had an OmniCorp twist to it. Though it has only garnered 134K views, it was one of those last minute pushes that Sony hoped would help the film. There was even a news reporter on the scene to talk about the faux keynote speech, where the public reacted to some of the technologies OmniCorp was unveiling. But that video only had a measly 15K.
Even OmniCorp’s request for humans to volunteer for their robotic schemes didn’t help them as that video only got 2,000 views. There was also a drunk driving PSA released before the new year showing one of RoboCop’s programing is to detect alcohol levels from miles away. Many saw this as some sort of joke, because how is someone suppose to take that kind of a PSA seriously when something like RoboCop doesn’t even exist in the first place.
But the viral marketing campaign’s beating heart proved to be nothing more than a tasteless website that lacked flair and excitement. The OmniCorp website was nothing more than a flashier version of its Facebook page, where it also displayed what was on the product line, confessionals from those who use OmniCorp products, and some of the things to look forward to from the company itself. Though each product had their stats and videos, it really didn’t do anything to get anyone excited. It honestly looked more like some fan boy created the stats. Did anyone really care about how fast the ED-209 moved or the maneuverability of the XT-908.
Sure there were some last minute game additions like moving a robotic arm as if it were attached to you in a limited amount of time or trying to detect crime as it happened. But those virtually went unnoticed if you didn’t already follow the Facebook page or Twitter account. But the mobile game proved to be a little fun, since it put the power of RoboCop in the palm of your hands. But, like almost everything else, those games are just part of the marketing plan, and probably won’t be seeing any sort of additions or upgrades after the RoboCop is done with it’s theatrical run.
It wasn’t as though the viral marketing campaign was not creative or not original, faux companies, phone numbers, etc, are just a part of the deal. The problem with it was that viewers were already going into this film uninterested. Most are of the opinion that remakes in general are bad, and remaking a film like RoboCop is even worse. In addition, if you don’t even spend a small amount of time engaging with the fans whether it be through scavenger hunts or even simply by comments, audiences won’t care about your viral marketing.