Surprise!: Paranormal Activity’s Success Based on Brilliant Marketing Ploy


Curiously today, the Washington Post turns a critical eye toward the success of the low-budget horror film and Twitter/Internet-fueled sleeper hit Paranormal Activity, daring to ask whether it's a little movie that could or a little movie that had a genius marketing team. The latter would and has seemed obvious, but let's get an oddly indignant, probably out-of-context quote from Douglas Rushkoff anyway!

"This isn't some piece of propaganda that's so dangerous that movie theaters are refusing to show it, or even so potentially unpopular that theaters don't want to show it," he says. "This is a movie distributor looking for some way to create publicity about itself. ... They're pretending there is some distribution obstacle that people's popular demand is going to overcome."

The article later goes on to interview some fans who participated in the film's marketing by "demanding" that it screen in their cities, all of whom knew that it was marketing and were entirely comfortable with it:

"Obviously, this was just a marketing gimmick. But it was a well-crafted one that allowed the viewer to 'play along.' "

If this all seems incredibly obvious to you, congratulations: You are not a naïve sucker who was born yesterday. [WP]