On March 2, media outlets across the net showcased satirical stock images featuring Vince Vaughn and the cast of his latest movie, Unfinished Business.
Aside from being absolutely hilarious, these images were particularly compelling because they were available to download for free through partnered website iStock, a division of Getty Images. So far, iStock has over 41,998 views and both iStock and Getty Images collectively have over 458 online news mentions.
With over 1,722 online news articles and counting currently circulating, it’s evident that Unfinished Business has amassed a plethora of earned media — every PR professional’s dream.
But Unfinished Business only has ~3,300 Twitter followers and ~13,100 Facebook likes after 4 days of positive campaign response and just one day before its theatrical release (March 6). So who has really benefited from this PR campaign — Unfinished Business or iStock?
A campaign is as successful as the amount of people it reaches. By now, it’s safe to say a large number of people in the business, public relations, advertising, marketing, communications, and design communities have heard of the film and have been trying to somehow incorporate the stock images into their editorial content.
This furthers the campaign’s earned media reach and staying power, keeping the film both relevant and exciting. The virality of the stock images will keep the film top-of-mind when consumers decide which movie to go see this weekend.
But there’s a catch.
Anyone wanting to use this stock imagery has to first download it from iStock. This is where iStock has the advantage over Unfinished Business: For every download, there must be an iStock account to download from. If someone doesn’t already have an account, they have to create one. Each new account is a lead for iStock , which could result in new business or a new contact for its marketing database.
These new leads can be nurtured to become powerful brand advocates for iStock, which will continue to benefit the stock photo company. This means that iStock can reach new audiences long after Unfinished Business has been released on DVD and iTunes.
But iStock is also an extremely valuable vessel for Unfinished Business’ messaging, considering the stock image company has a considerably higher social media following due to being a widely used, previously established product. This means that upon release, an established audience of more than 90,000 Twitter followers were exposed to Unfinished Business and its PR campaign.
This head start no doubt contributed to the campaign’s virality: The #UnfinishedBusiness hashtag has had over 4,500 twitter mentions.
There has been more talk about the stock images themselves than there has been about the movie: Unfinished Business stock image-related handles and hashtags have so far been mentioned more than the handles and hashtags about the movie itself, though this could change quickly following its release.
Most people will remember Vince Vaughn’s hilarious stock photos, but will they remember they were used to promote his movie? Will this stock photo frenzy convert to massive box office sales? We’ll see after this weekend!
Who will be the real PR winner of this campaign? Unfinished Business or iStock? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
(Data used for this article collected March 5, 2015)