A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 2)

Part 2 – The Social Media Revolution

How did Brüno go from being the #1 movie in America to #3 in less than 24 hours?

Many people have tried to explain why Brüno crashed on its opening weekend. Some have blamed the filmmaker and others the marketing campaign. But Universal did their best with a bad movie on their hands. The most important factor effecting the unprecedented decline in ticket sales from that Friday to Saturday night, was the unaccounted for rise of social media. Let’s take a look back at what was occurring in the sociocultural landscape at the time Brüno was releasing.

The Social Media RevolutionFacebook-2011

Back in late 2008/early 2009, while Universal was planning the marketing campaign for Brüno, Facebook and Twitter were exploding and revolutionizing the global social and cultural fabric (the “Year of the Social Network”).

twitter1Facebook doubled in size from January to September 2009, from 150M users to 300M users. In February 2009, Nielsen Online reported that Twitter grew 1,382% year-over-year! That’s staggering growth in a matter of months!

While the world watched (and participated in!) the social network revolution, what few yet realized was that it was changing business as we know it – in all industries. Social media was revolutionizing how we relate to each other, to our selves, to products, to businesses and to story. As we all opened Facebook and Twitter accounts and enjoying these shiny new means of communicating, little did we know that these new platforms for communications were rocking business as we know it and old business and strategic models were dying a quick death.

“Technology…social, mobile, real-time, it’s changing the world. Customers are evolving into something new. They’re more connected, empowered, and demanding.” – Brian Solis

The film Brüno was the first to experience the effects of this sociocultural shift in the entertainment industry. The film opened Friday, it wasn’t pleasing to audiences who then digitally broadcasted their opinion of the movie to their social networks (“Bruno is awful. Don’t see it!), and in less than 24 hours the film took a 39% dive and went from #1 in America to #3!

The voice of the audience and what they wanted became louder than a tried and true studio marketing campaign. Mass media was losing its voice. Audiences were gaining their voice.

It was at that moment that business as usual in Hollywood stopped and a new era of storytelling began to take root.

In Part 3, we will look at what can be learned from Brüno and what strategies are needed to avoid the catastrophe Brüno underwent.

Click here to read Part 3!

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  1. Pingback: A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 1) | StoryDisruptive

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