Review: The Cloverfield Paradox and their One-Of-A-Kind Movie Marketing Strategy

Super Bowl commercials got plenty of buzz when it comes to what went on in between game time. Whether it was Tide’s takeover or Alexa’s lost voice; there seemed to be a healthy conversation going on over who won the hearts of the audience.

What seemed to have caught many eyes was the short commercial for The Cloverfield Paradox, which was promoted just hours before it was going to be released on Netflix after the Super Bowl game. There was no warning, no second trailer, and not even really a campaign. This marketing strategy is very surprising when you look back at J.J. Abrams previous films.

Cloverfield (2008)

 If one were to recall the Cloverfield movie in 2008, the marketing strategy there was quite peculiar as well. However, this 2018 approach relied on the brevity of warning ahead of time and the ease/reach that Netflix provided for their success.

Differently back in 2008 there was a trailer released a year prior that didn’t even expose the title of the movie. Just some clips of what appeared to be a found videotape, which turned out to be the medium of the entire film that was finally released later in January of 2008.

Buzz over this Bad Robot film spread rapidly and got plenty of coverage. This 2008 film got really creative with their hype, and social media had a HUGE play in this. Twitter was just about a year old when the Cloverfield campaign strategy took advantage of other social media platforms; A clear component of the campaign featured MySpace pages for each of the movie’s characters. This gave intense mystery and a sense of realism that audiences that saw the trailer craved at the time.

Other promotions offered a chance to get people talking about the mystery behind what exactly was about to come to theatres, like their 1-18-08 website that showed polaroid-like pictures of people doing ordinary things from the trailers (which had a surprise-party setting), to a Cloverfield Clues blog site.

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Other promotions offered a chance to get people talking about the mystery behind what exactly was about to come to theatres, like their 1-18-08 website that showed polaroid-like pictures of people doing ordinary things from the trailers (which had a surprise-party setting), to a Cloverfield Clues blog site.

What made the final 2008 film so incredibly loud and mysterious was how long it took to reveal exactly was it was about. Even a magazine article with pictures from the final day of shooting was one of the milestone-clues that would be then considered a major ‘leak’.

More and more clues were released by both J.J. Abrams as well as their promotional campaign, but even when the movie came about there was still a sense of what the hell is going on. Even after finally watching the movie, people were both entertained yet still foggy as to what exactly they watched.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

In 2016, 10 Cloverfield Lane was released in a similar light. MySpace in 2016 was gone from their marketing landscape, which made other platforms their go-to. Originally, 10 Cloverfield Lane was going to be called The Cellar, or Valencia, which would have put the plot of the entire movie on a whole other level of mystery. Now with the final title being as it is, it’s not difficult to connect the dots. 10 Cloverfield Lane and the original Cloverfield may differ in both story-telling and plot, but their marketing strategies have similar approaches.

Although 10 Cloverfield Lane was announced with less time before the release date than Cloverfield, social media became huge in their promotional process. With social media though, things change. Twitter, one of their main platforms, is famous for feeding instantaneous information from people from all around the world at a very reactive speed. There was even a Tweet from the 10 Cloverfield Lane Twitter account with a simple promotion saying: “See #10CloverfieldLane in theatres before you get spoiled.”

Their reliance on mystery is exactly what these two strategies have in common and in their most valuable marketing arsenal. Since leaks were one of the main concerns, 10 Cloverfield Lane actually relied on more traditional forms of marketing: TV ads and positive word-of-mouth were their heavy hitters as they realized that they were getting positive reviews from critics.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

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The Cloverfield Paradox, originally titled God Particle, was supposed to be released a few years ago. With the third installment of the Cloverfield series having their release date constantly being pushed back and therefore having the word of its works spread, there almost had to be a similar marketing approach. Here come’s 04182028.com, which is again a vague promotion regarding what exactly this movie is. However, there weren’t any TV campaigns for it, just one commercial during the Super Bowl.

Again, relying on the ease of access to a Netflix account along with the incredible audience that tuned in to watch the Super Bowl on February 4th of 2018; The Cloverfield Paradox was a smashing trend that got all kinds of demographics wanting to tune in after the game.

 Yes, the new installment also features a pretty decent cast. Notice this guy from Inglorious Bastards?

Yes, the new installment also features a pretty decent cast. Notice this guy from Inglorious Bastards?

Reviews aside, The Cloverfield Paradox gave a whole different approach in an effort to give reasoning or answers to their first two films. The AV Club calls it an “ingenious, Barnumesque marketing gimmick for a film that (mutant plot aside) isn’t at all different from dozens of other cramped, watchable sci-fi cheapies available on Netflix; the real promotional masterstroke was releasing the film only hours after its trailer, half of which consisted of shots from the original Cloverfield.”

We’ll have to see what becomes of this series, but it’s safe to say that whatever comes next from J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot will carry similar styles of approach to their marketing strategies. Branding is extremely crucial in any industry, but in this case, it’s done in such a fashion that it is credited with a great deal of Cloverfield’s success.