Social Marketing

Oscar Qualifying Run via Social Media

The Ghosts in our Machine

Animal cruelty is an issue that is near and dear to our hearts – after all, our office manager is a French Bulldog named Basil. So, when acclaimed documentary Director, Liz Marshall (Water on the TableThe Rawside of…) approached Faren to develop the social media strategy for her new movie, The Ghosts in our Machine, we quickly accepted.

There’s a lot of red tape to meet the strict eligibility requirements to make the master list for an Academy Award. First and foremost, the film must have been theatrically screened at a commercial venue. In addition, advertising for the film must run in, at minimum, the following publications: The New York TimesTime Out New York or The Village Voice (New York); Los Angeles Times or LA Weekly (Los Angeles). The only way to ensure that the costly investment in advertising makes sense is if there is enough public demand for that film. That’s where Faren came in.

Tapping into the target demographic for this was easy – animal rights advocates are vocal and active. But preaching to the choir was not what this film was about… it was about educating an otherwise oblivious public in a palatable and conscious way.

We developed a social movement that took hold of the internet by first developing a group of images that were developed to be used as Facebook and Twitter profile pictures, and cover photos. This effort began in November of 2013 and on any given day, the #fortheghosts hashtag has over 1,300 tweets and around 2.5 Million timeline deliveries (see graph). To date, there have been tens of thousands of downloads of the cover photos and profile pictures. Actors like Jason Preistly, James Cromwell and Alicia Silverstone were actively involved.


In short, it worked. Commercial venues in New York and LA took notice and screened the film. Leveraging the power of social media, we enabled The Ghosts in our Machine to make a successful Oscar qualifying run.

In the end, The Ghosts in our Machine made the Academy Awards Master List.