Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The “Hereditary” horror movie made 8X its production cost! What helped its trending buzz? This week in “Gorillas of Guerilla Marketing”

January 24, 2020

Dynamic Marketing Communiqué
Fridays: Gorillas of Guerilla Marketing

Hereditary is labeled as one of the scariest horror films in recent years.

The Rolling Stone even said that it was the best horror movie of the year (2018)!

We’re sure that a lot of horror movie junkies have watched… and ENJOYED it.

The difference between Hereditary and other horror movies is that even people who weren’t big horror fans also watched and kept talking about Hereditary.

This isn’t an easy feat.

Marketing and promoting a horror movie is a challenging task. The audience is usually limited to a certain type of movie-goer.

How did the promoters of Hereditary contribute in making this film a must-watch success?

They created a lot of buzz online with a guerilla stunt they pulled on the attendees of one of the first midnight screenings.

The day after that group of people saw the movie…

…very creepy dolls were left right outside their hotel doors.

That’s all it took.

Scary and disturbing… and it definitely made a lasting impression!

Very much like the movie itself.

Well-known people in the business were some of the lucky few to receive the dolls, like director Barry Jenkins and news contributor, Eric Vespe.

This was one example of a simple yet clever act of guerilla marketing.

It not only made people talk about the movie and the promotional stunt online, but it also made people curious enough to actually watch it in the cinemas.

It made a lasting impression and shocked so many people enough for them to react big time.

As a result, Hereditary made $13 million US at the box office on its FIRST weekend alone.

The cost to produce this movie was $10 million US. They got the production budget back on their first weekend!

United States and Canada = Hereditary grossed $44 million US

Other countries combined = Hereditary grossed $35.3 million US

A total worldwide gross revenue of $79.3 million US—about 8 times the production cost!

Now that’s effective.

Leading brands (and huge box office hits) use guerilla marketing to induce shock and create a lasting impression on their target audience without having to spend massive amounts of money.

It looks easy BUT it takes a level of creativity and skill to be effective. This is not just something you can easily do that’s 100% successful 100% of the time. It has to be planned out well and executed properly.

Guerilla marketing helps businesses generate an intense amount of buzz among consumers while remaining profitable.

It could benefit your business or marketing projects—you could go viral, you can build partnerships, it’s great for low budgets, and it will make your campaign memorable.

Time to think about leaving creepy dolls outside of people’s doorsteps.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick on their target market’s mind.

Guerilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerilla Marketing is inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerilla!


Kyle Yu and Joel Litman
Head of Marketing & President and CEO
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
Powered by Valens Research

This content is used with permission from The I Institute and The Business Builder Daily.

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683