Assassination Nation is a film that is set to release this weekend, on Friday, September 21. It is about a small town that is ravaged by a widespread hack in which many, many people’s personal data is shared online. The film has a punchy, edgy tone, and it heavily plays on the ugly side of people that can be brought out through an event like this. All of the online marketing for this movie makes one thing abundantly clear, though. This is a heavily liberal movie that holds nothing back. It is selling itself on that point, and in my opinion, it is doing so very well.
On the film’s official Facebook page, I watched a couple of trailers for the movie. Most of the trailers were “red band” trailers, which are not restricted and not nearly as inappropriate as a “green band” trailer (what you would normally see in a theater). I just happened to notice the comments on these trailers as well. Given the subject matter of the movie, the comments were vulgar, offensive, sexist, misogynist, and not surprising in the slightest. I wrote these comments off as nothing important. The movie looks interesting, and it’s a shame that people feel the need to express those sort of feelings online. However, the film’s marketing team did not feel the same way as I did.
I mentioned that the film is heavily selling itself as an important, radical (to some) statement, and they are entirely aware of what they are selling. Instead of ignoring, deleting, or reporting those comments, they created an image that features those comments in bold. The image is a wall of text filled with offensive quotes from upset people on Facebook. The image appears to have been a widely successful move, as it has created a lot of engagement with online users. It simply doubles down on the idea presented in the trailer, and assuming they know their audience, they are subsequently doubling down their support of their audience.
Seeing a brand be so aware of what it is to the point that it can use naysayers for their own benefit is pretty powerful. It’s an interesting look at how a more niche product can handle social media hate, while a much larger brand would most likely take a more safe approach to handling the situation.