Xmen: Days of Future Past
20th Century Fox wanted X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest in the film franchise to be the biggest ever. Fox UK was under pressure from its LA management to deliver a world-beating marketing idea that would create cut through in a highly competitive summer blockbuster market. The film sees the ultimate X-Men line up, combining stars from both previous X-Men films including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. Fox also wanted to seismically broaden the appeal of the film and start it’s marketing campaign with a bang. For the launch, they were looking for a partner who would be bold, act differently.
We knew to attract new audiences to the movie, we had to celebrate the breadth of talent that features in the film. Inspired by our own Faces of 4 on air promotional campaign, we created two 60-second talent-led spots themed around a central plot line from the film, where a character travels back in time and meets their younger self.
We filmed numerous cast members (including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, James Hoult) posing them the question “If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?”. Two versions of the campaign spot were created; one featuring purely X-Men cast members, and a second featuring our own X-Men/X-Ladies including Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Carr & Kirsty Alsop. The concept was ambitious; organising 5 Hollywood A-listers and 3 of Channel 4’s biggest stars is no mean feat, but the resulting spot was impactful. The talent shared a mixture of light-hearted and more serious responses in the spot and the usage of Channel 4 talent built an association with the channel context.
To emphasise and support the association between Channel 4 and the film, we created bespoke channel idents, each featuring a different character and with the Channel 4 logo animating to reflect their powers - a media first for Channel 4. To further the tie into Channel 4, the ident featured an open and close of the Channel 4 logo morphing into the ‘X’ from X-Men.
The bespoke feature-length ads were scheduled on Friday night in Gogglebox and Alan Carr Chatty Man. A 30-second trailer followed each broadcast of the bespoke ad. To support the campaign launch, Kirsty and Jamie encouraged their twitter followers to watch C4 to see the exclusive content. We also scheduled the spot in the premiere of X-Men First Class on Channel 4, to reach existing fans.
Having worked extensively with Fox on numerous film launches this year, they had strong confidence in us to deliver a bold campaign that would engage our viewers. With such an ambitious project planned, successful delivery was dependant on trust and our collaborative working relationships with the client (Fox), agency (Vizeum), talent, production company (Sassy) and our own marketing and editorial departments. We worked closely alongside all partners in order to develop the right balance and synergy between the C4 talent used in the piece and the talent from the film.
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