“Hostiles,” a prestige film written and directed by Scott Cooper, starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Wes Studi, had the cards stacked against its theatrical release. While the film had high profile talent, they had no digital footprint and extremely limited availability for press opportunities. It was a Western film, a genre which historically does not perform well at the box office. Its target audiences were not digital natives. It had no awards season buzz. And with an unprecidented project turnaround time of just four weeks until limited release and eight weeks until wide release, Rogers & Cowan Digital stepped in to turn the ship around and create a digital marketing campaign that would exceed box office expectations. This campaign required expert audience targeting due to the disparate audiences it intended to reach. For example, we knew that our audience would be driven by adult non-digital native males, but some would be more interested in the independent and “high art” aspects of the film, while others would be interested in the western genre, and others in the epic survival nature. Furthermore, many of the women who might be interested in the film would be turned off by all of those qualities, further segmenting the target audience. The extensive audience research incorporated ten major segments and over 30 microsegments and involved detailed individualized tracking and market-by-market analysis in order to identify and engage those audiences as specifically as possible. As a result, Rogers & Cowan Digital created customized messaging for each group and used proprietary adtech to serve the messaging individually and independently of each other. The technology also eliminates click farms, fraud, and ad stacking, thus generating and calculating engagement from real and active users. This eliminated cross-exposure and allowed us to saturate each group, measure response and reaction, and tailor the campaign to optimize reach. With all of these audience metrics in mind, Rogers & Cowan Digital created a variety of creative content with wildly disparate tones and messaging tailored to the consumer response. The extremely detailed audience tracking technology allowed us to discontinue marketing to audiences who did not engage with the content and shift focus towards new, more engaged audiences. Results: Despite the difficult hand that was dealt, Rogers & Cowan Digital managed to catapult Hostiles to more than double box office predictions, bringing in over $10M in the film’s opening weekend alone. The ad tech targeting strategy stretched the budget, delivering $3.67 in value for every $1 spent on advertising. Where industry standard click-through rates are 0.1%, our approach had a 2.2% click-through rate. Where industry standard relevant audience reach is 10%, our approach secured a staggering 85% relevant audience reach. Where industry standard trailer completion rate is 34%, our approach finished with a 77.5% average. As a result, more people saw our content, more people liked our content, and ultimately more people saw the film.
Information Technology (IT)