Fast & Furious 6: A Successful Marketing Strategy?

Fast & Furious 6 took in $117 million on Memorial Day weekend, setting a new box-office-record for the latest film in the 12-year-old franchise. The box-office haul may be in large part to the ethnically diversity and the savvy marketing strategy by Universal Pictures, owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA).

Diversity is, and has been, one of The Fast & Furious franchise’s most marketable assets. Featuring a cast made up of numerous ethnicities — black, Hispanic, Asian, Somoan-American, and more — the film has revealed a new working model when it comes to how films are marketed to the changing demographics. The opening weekend audience consisted of 32 percent Latino, 29 percent white, 22 percent black, and 13 percent Asian. This led Gitesh Pandya of the website Box Office Guru to comment, “It’s very rare to see a film with such a low percentage of white viewers score over $100 million in a weekend.”

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The ethnically diverse cast allowed for Universal to broaden their usual marketing strategy. In April, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez made a joint appearance at the Billboard Latin Music Awards to promote the film to Hispanic viewers. In order to appeal to Hispanic female viewers, Universal ran ads during Spanish-langauge soap operas resulting in 49 percent viewership among females, up from the previous installment’s 44 percent.

Universal also employed a large social media campaign for Fast & Furious 6, an increasingly important component to any successful marketing strategy. When the film’s first trailer premiered during the Super Bowl, several stars of the film were instrumental in promoting the film on the web. The Rock, Vin Diesel, and Ludacris used their sizable online presence to lead the film’s Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page to 844,000 likes in only a week. This number was more than double the amount any other film trailer airing during the Super Bowl.

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The Fast & Furious franchise is also notable for its fan inclusion in the film series. Fast & Furious 6‘s title was chosen via an online poll and The Rock’s appearence in Fast Five, along with Rodriguez’s return in Fast & Furious 6, were the result of communication between the fans and the studio. While Michael Moses, Universal’s co-president for marketing, admitted that it’s “a little scary because you’re ceding control,” it doesn’t appear likely that he’ll argue with the results.

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