OOH Helps ‘The Emoji Movie’ Outperform U.S. Box Office Projections

Sony Pictures were looking to introduce an original property, The Emoji Movie. We used out-of-home (OOH) to overcome low levels of interest and outperform Box Office expectations.

The Challenge

At the start of the marketing campaign, the film had garnered a very low level of interest among the movie-going audience, due to what was perceived as an outdated and uninteresting subject matter.

The overall challenge was, therefore, to stimulate interest and broaden the film’s appeal.

Our Solution

OOH’s overall role in the campaign was to leverage engaging interactive creative, introduce the movie’s main characters and its respective voice actors, and most importantly, inform people about the film’s impending theatre release date.

We used a mix of high reach and frequency OOH formats to raise awareness across 22 markets and introduce the characters, with a high-profile wallscape added in five core markets to drive further buzz.

Additionally, we wanted to include the characters in their native digital landscape. In New York, the standout element of the campaign was an interactive digital experience using a digital screen in the heart of Times Square and facial recognition software. As people were looking at the screen their faces would show up and be transformed into an Emoji which could be shared via social media.

Finally, on World Emoji Day, a fortnight before the film release, we used traffic and weather data to trigger specific creative, based on the prevailing conditions. For example, the ‘poop’ emoji creative was used when traffic moved slowly.


The film overperformed, taking $24.5 million at the box office on its opening weekend, which exceeded the projected opening.

The fun nature of this campaign also created strong buzz online, with the dynamic digital bulletin element that utilized traffic and weather triggers receiving wide press coverage, including ‘Ad of the Week’ on Cream Global and ‘Editor’s Pick’ on Creativity-Online.

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