Promoting a film with a message “The Man Who Saved the World”

Promoting a film with a message “The Man Who Saved the World”
Ben Johnson
Updated on 07/12/2023

What would have the Cold War become had it not been for Stanislav Petrov? Luckily, we’ll never know. On September 26th, 1983 Petrov correctly disregarded a missile warning as a system malfunction, avoiding a nuclear disaster. The story of his brave act as well as its effect on Petrov’s life was brought to the big screen in The Man Who Saved the World, directed by Peter Anthony. The film combines drama and documentary storytelling into a compelling narrative, making up for a uniquely engaging view. After a successful run in film festivals (including CPXdocs and Woodstock), The Man Who Saved the World screened in cinemas in Denmark and Norway. On September 18th the film was screened in a limited release in the US- in LA, Detroit, Portland and NY- preceding and coinciding with the Nuclear Abolition Day.
Gruvi handled the promotion on social media for the film’s US release, capitalising both on its strong and important message, as well as on the quality of the filmmaking (the film was NY Times Critics Pick on the week of its US theatrical premiere). The main tool used was the responsive website and its integrated Facebook player which displays the trailer of the film, as well as show–times for the location closest to the users’ location, then guiding them to ticket purchase.

Gruvi’s responsive website for “The Man Who Saved the World”

The player was displayed on the film’s Facebook page, as well as on pages and groups of NGOs promoting nuclear disarmament and on those of the cinemas screening the film in all the 4 locations. The player was the basis for 2 ads (with two different images). In addition, the campaign included a promo ad- the post announcing the film being chosen as NYT Critics’ Pick. The three ads were then advertised, with two main aims: to raise awareness about the film and to promote the screenings.
As for the results, the campaign was particularly successful on mobile devices- which ensured over 98% of the reach, achieved mainly through smartphones (with Android having a prevalence over iPhone, and accounting for over 200 000 users reached). The promoted posts and the promo ad reached a total of 385,526 users (40,927 for Ad 1, 339,933 for Ad 2 and 13,146 for the a Post about the NYT Critics’ Pick).

The post used for the Promo Ad

The click through rate on mobile was 6.83%- almost 7 times bigger than the 1% average for similar Facebook campaigns. The average cost per click was as low as 0.10 USD.


Details of campaign on Mobile

Engagement with the content further increased its reach, with over 22,000 actions (likes, comments, shares) being performed by the users reached by the ads. Over 800 shares came only from the film’s page, with the player also receiving more than 2,000 likes.

Engagement with the player on the film’s Facebook page

The engagement with the posts in terms of comments was particularly interesting, as it went beyond the film itself and put it in a bigger context. Several comments threads were exchanges between believers and atheists, and the issue of gun violence was also brought into discussion.


Samples of comments on the ad posts

Providing showtimes for the closest location determined 6,253 interactions with this and the other features of the player- tickets menu (including exit to tickets), location, date. The most popular feature was the trailer, with 9,570 users watching it within the player; the majority of these views was preceded by the user investigating showtimes so the interaction rates were very good for this unit.
The total reach of the campaign (summing mobile and desktop) was 394,006 users, most of which were aged 25 to 44 years old (44.66%). The campaign combined wide targeting, to create awareness, as well as targeting of user according to their political views to ensure its reach to the most relevant audiences. We also targeted the advertising to the catchment area of the cinemas in each of the locations where the film was screened.
Overall, The Man Who Saved the World has benefited from one of the most successful campaigns ever run by Gruvi- both in terms of reach and of cost efficiency. We were happy to be able to provide a clever approach to marketing such an interesting and relevant piece of filmmaking, making sure its message reaches far and wide.

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Promoting a film with a message “The Man Who Saved the World”