How Facebook Marketed “Straight Outta Compton” for Crossover Success

By April 25, 2016content marketing, Utah

The power of content marketing has never been stronger nor more successful than in the case of Universal’s decision to create customized racial marketing for the film “Straight Outta Compton.” The film tells the story of the rise of the hip-hop group N.W.A. — a group that most white Americans were unfamiliar with. Facebook successfully helped Universal Pictures create custom advertising contingent upon race — whether in Utah or on the West Coast — that proved to be surprisingly successful.

“Straight Outta Compton” Received Wide Crossover Appeal

Universal Pictures’ EVP of digital marketing, Doug Neil, had an initial hunch that the film would be popular with African American audiences; however, he was surprised to discover that “Straight Outta Compton” also received a wide crossover appeal. The film grossed over $160 million at the U.S. box office; a feat that Neil credited in part to Facebook’s specialized content marketing. By creating custom trailers for different demographics of the population — whether in Salt Lake City, Utah or on the East Coast — the film reached a broader audience and experienced a higher success rate at the box office.

Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and N.W.A. Were All Marketed Differently

Part of the marketing challenge that the movie faced was the fact that although many non-African Americans and non-Hispanics knew what N.W.A. was, or knew that Ice Cube and Dr. Dre actually made music, most of this general population identified Ice Cube only as an actor and Dr. Dre as the name behind the unnecessarily expensive line of Beats headphones. The solution to this dilemma was easily solved: the movie was marketed to white audiences on Facebook as a tale of the advancement of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, as opposed to a story about N.W.A. The trailer marketed to African Americans was much different, and capitalized on the population’s familiarity with N.W.A.

The bottom line? Content marketing works, especially when attempting to target a particular demographic — whether in small-town Utah or a large East Coast city. The marketing experiment of “Straight Outta Compton” has paved the way for future successes in the realm of content marketing to different audiences.

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