Really, really, really ridiculous marketing with Zoolander 2 | Surf Pacific
April 26, 2016

Really, really, really ridiculous marketing with Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2 had one of the most extravagant advertising campaigns for a blockbuster we’ve ever seen. From Justin Bieber and Katy Perry to MC Hammer, everyone who is an influential someone is in this movie. So why did it fail?

I’ve been speaking to people about the Zoolander 2 movie, asking whether they have seen it or not. The average response has been “Oh, is it already out?” Much to their surprise, the movie was in the cinemas in February – 3 months ago. Other responses included “I didn’t know there was a second film” and “Oh, I completely forgot about it. I wanted to see it, though”. The first film, for the generation at the time became a cult hit with numerous one-liners we still recite and Zoolander became a fashion legend.

In the beginning, Zoolander 2 was marketed with a bang. It was a colossal moment for the blockbuster itself and fashion label Valentino. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, in the characters of Derek Zoolander and Hansel, walked the runway in the Valentino fashion show at Paris fashion week. Everyone instantly knew a sequel was on the rise. They hit their campaign head on by bringing the characters to life with success. Zoolander 2 was an instant trending topic and it went viral – so what happened?


Did Zoolander 2 create too much suspense?

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson walked the Valentino runway as their alter-egos in March 2015; the movie was not released until February the following year. The footage of the fashion show went viral giving the impression that the movie would have also been a great success. However, the year-long wait meant that the audience that was at first so enthralled had all but forgotten the existence of the film. This flop reveals the importance of acting immediately. It is important to act immediately after a grand showcase because more people are likely to pursue something they are buzzing about.

Did Zoolander 2 overkill their campaign?

Their campaign began with the fashion show and continued with tactics such as Ben Stiller converting his Instagram to a Zoolander page and staying in character for multiple events and appearances. Their tactics continued over the span of a year and slowly the public began to lose interest. Eventually, the buzz decelerated – unfortunately, this happened before the movie was released and Zoolander 2 ultimately overkilled their campaign.

Did Zoolander 2 market to the wrong crowd?

3Zoolander 2 dynamically marketed to the high-end fashion world. The characters appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine, participated in the Vogue online vlog series of “73 Questions” and walked in high-end fashion shows. These tactics forced their target market into a smaller crowd. It’s important to create an engagement that a wide variety of consumers can relate to. If your marketing campaign becomes generalized to one group, a lot of consumers are avidly lost. The high-end fashion world is full of busy, rapid-moving individuals. Their focus is keeping up with the latest trends. Once the Zoolander 2 trend was no longer active, they had moved onto the next fad.

You need to maintain a clear understanding of your marketing campaign or leave it to the professionals. If you target the wrong market, you simply won’t generate enough publicity with word-of-mouth to be successful. If you ever create buzz with a certain strategy or tactic within your marketing campaign, it is important to act quickly. Your consumers will jump on the next craze before you know it. You should never become content simply because you create a lot of traction. Zoolander 2 started off ticking every box within their marketing campaign, but they didn’t adapt.

4Don’t forget: you can create too much suspense and actively overkill your campaign.