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Smile campaign freakingly terrifying

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Smile campaign freakingly terrifying


The new horror film Smile is taking its marketing to a whole new freakish level. 

As Halloween madness approaches, strange people have been spotted on public broadcasts with a hair-raising grin, chilling viewers with unsettling images. 

Could this one be the creepiest ever? On 23 September 2022, at a Yankees and Mets’ game, a guy was smiling for over 40 minutes. Many of the terrifying actors showcasing in this brilliant marketing campaign, were wearing a bright shirt emblazoned with “Smile”. The simple message has been a way of alerting the public that they were part of the campaign. However, this ominous actor was not wearing his shirt – creepy. 

The possessed looking individuals were making waves on social media. The baseball media company, Jomboy Media, shared clips from the crowd revealing the several sightings of the creepy actors. 

Beyond making the public collectively crap their pants – cue who gives a crap toilet paper ad here. Fans of the movie campaign can report the smiles they see in the public on their website. To add more to the drama, there’s also a number fans can call or text to give information on the smiles. 

Snapchat has also released an iconic horrific filter that contorts a normal grin to a creepy smile. 

Paramount Pictures is behind the clever marketing tactic, heavily promoting the film online, in public and in cinemas. 

Smile is a psychological horror film aiming to market the movie by freaking people out.

The horror film signals that seeing a person smile as marketed, meant something bad was bound to happen. As smiling belongs uniquely to humans because they are the only species to show their teeth associated with positive things. But, smiling with bared teeth is done by predators, which is exactly what this campaign is advocating. 

Let’s not forget the smilers in Sydney

As the release came to Australia, Sydney was hosting the mobs of people frozen in a smile. Even in front of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge groups of more than 20 were spotted in locations like Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, Pitt Street Mall, Central Station, Surry Hills, Hyde Park and Martin Place.

Who is behind the strategic marketing?

Hello Social is an advertising and digital media agency behind the Australian shenanigans. Partner and managing director, Sam Kelly explained the genius strategy behind this campaign. “Our strategy was to drive beyond pure key art and trailer promotion. The multi-pronged activation provided us with a disruptive real-life moment, an earned PR opportunity and made for epic social content that localised the films narrative and could be served digitally to the masses,” says Kelly.



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Benay Ozdemir

Benay is an in-house writer for Niche Media.

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