Entertainer Will Smith unquestionably is one of the most popular and successful actors since the early 1990’s. The rapper turned actor gained fame on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air sitcom for six seasons, before transitioning into one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.
However, in recent years his star has dimmed a bit. Questionable movie roles and lack of audience interest finally caught up to Smith. His days of grossing $100 million+ for eight straight films in the 2000’s were long gone. Fast forward to 2018 and the movie industry has a new generation of fresh faces that have exploded onto the scene. Even an established, charismatic and charming personality like Will Smith has seen his fair challenges. The two-time Oscar nominee found his career at a crossroads with not so stellar box office receipts in recent years.
Instead of fading off into the sunset and walking away from the movie industry, Smith recently turned to social media to remind fans about the Will Smith brand. Let’s look at what he’s done with digital in just a few short months.
Leverages social media influencers
On the December 14th, 2017 taping of the Ellen show, Will Smith promoted his new Netflix film, Bright. With the assistance of day time talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres, she playfully got Smith up to speed with how to use Instagram and take the best images. One of Will’s signature traits is his humility, being able to make fun of himself on screen and in this case, he demonstrated it flawlessly. It also didn’t hurt to have Ellen’s combined social media presence of over 180+ million followers help welcome Will to the ‘gram.
A little over one week later, Will Smith teamed up with YouTube star Lilly Singh aka IISuperwomanII to help produce a comedic video on Internet lingo. The playful sketch saw the Independence Day actor poke fun of himself again, learning the ins and outs of social media language that his children Jaden and Willow use on a regular day basis.
This past Sunday, women’s MMA star Ronda Rousey shocked the wrestling world by showing up at the conclusion of the WWE’sRoyal Rumble pay-per-view. As one of combat sports’ most recognizable figures, her new career switch into the world of professional wrestling caught a lot of mainstream fans off guard. Let’s examine how she used social media as a decoy to throw off the public that she was not going to appear at the Royal Rumble.
Tells TMZ she’s off to film a movie in South America
On Thursday, January 25, 2018, just four days before the Royal Rumble, Rousey was approached by TMZ at the airport. Knowing that this footage would most likely be shared on social media through blog sites and smartphones, the former UFC women’s champion welcomed the paparazzi’s questions. She was coy about her eventual jump to WWE, but truthfully did board a plane once the interview concluded. It had been previously reported in the fall that she would be filming Mile 22 with Mark Wahlberg in Atlanta and Columbia. This set the table as an early confirmation that Ronda would not be appearing in Philadelphia, the site of the Royal Rumble.
Uses Instagram to prove she’s actually in Columbia
For those who thought Ronda would not honor her movie commitments, she posted a video on her Instagram account. Dated Saturday, January 27 at 5:49 pm eastern time, Ronda was seen having dinner with the film crew in a Colombian restaurant. This should have seemed to be enough to convince her fans and the MMA/wrestling audience that appearing at the Royal Rumble was just not going to happen. Probably the icing on the cake was that her make up artist posted a picture of Rousey in her trailer on Sunday, January 28 – the actual day of the Royal Rumble event.
With Instagram, unless the live video feature is enabled, you can never really tell if the images you see on the platform are in real time or post dated. People in general assume images are recently uploaded within a few hours of them being taken. In this case, kudos to the Ronda and the WWE for using the platform to show that while fans will flock to Instagram for information, they can easily fool the public at the same time.
Ronda Rousey’s pre-recorded ESPN interview airs moments after the Royal Rumble
WWE’s relationship with ESPN allowed a mainstream outlet to help boost coverage of their signing of Ronda Rousey to the world. The legitimacy of the sports broadcaster, known to break big sports new stories, immediately ran this interview following the conclusion of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. WWE Shop also started selling the walk out t-shirt Rousey wore within minutes of the Rumble finishing on the WWE Network. It is safe to say that her debut was calculated and had been planned for months leading up to her debut.
Social media is a powerful tool. In this day and age where people are looking for information online, it can also be used a tool to misguide as well. Ronda Rousey’s arrival in professional wrestling comes at a time where the industry is featuring more female talent than ever before. While she did not compete at the Royal Rumble, WWE is saving her in-ring competition debut for their biggest show of the year. Look for her to be heavily promoted in the main event of WrestleMania, this coming April.
For a sports entertainment company like the WWE, they are constantly using digital to communicate with their audience. Personalities take to their social accounts to help build their rivalries. They keep interest in their storytelling by keeping the consumer engaged. And in the case of Ronda Rousey…where her debut could have been botched or leaked, WWE is a shining example of how a company can utilize social media and protect a surprise, which is no easy task in today’s digital world.
Ronda explains how she left Columbia to make it in time for the Royal Rumble
Recently Tourism Toronto released their 2017 campaign to promote tourism in the city of Toronto. Needless to say, the reaction was extremely positive and receptive by many, including local Torontonians. In the 71-second clip, the viewer is introduced to many quick shots showcasing various parts of the city, focusing on popular destinations in the city as well as hidden gems. J. Walter Thompson Canada directed the visual, which features vocals performed by Toronto poet and singer Bethany Lee.
While the focus of this video is to promote Toronto tourism, it also doubles up as a civic pride exercise. For many years, Toronto has constantly been labeled as a micro town comparable to the bright lights of its counterpart in New York city. However, in recent years the city affectionately known as “The 6” has established their own identity, their own culture and uniqueness. Dubbed as “Canada’s Downtown”, a lot of locals took to social media praising the clip for demonstrating what they already knew about their city.
Diversity and Equality.
As Toronto is the most visited destination in Canada, the city does not discriminate. It has one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the world and is home to a large array of diverse and unique cultures. The town openly welcomes new visitors who are looking to find a place both in their professional and personal lives.
With that mindset comes opportunities for multiculturalism and immigration to the city. There are various pockets in Toronto that cater to different communities like Chinatown in Spadina, Little Italy on College street and Polish town in Roncesvalles to name a few. Toronto truly embraces and shows love in its vast diversity.
The world in one city.
Toronto no longer wants to blend anymore with other cities in the world. It wants people to know that they clearly have their own established identity and are not afraid to break barriers down. No longer does the city want to be known as the best kept secret, but to let the international audience know that culture wise there is a little bit of everything all in one city. Last month I made a presentation highlighting this campaign, which you can check out below.