10 Lessons From The Super Mario Bros. Movie Marketing

A game that created a generation of gamers is back. However, our beloved plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom is jumping – not over a flagpole this time but to the big screens. Nonetheless, the much anticipated Super Mario Bros. Movie has hit theaters. While people are talking about the movie, it’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie marketing that has caught our attention.

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When you look closely, the interesting thing here is that the generation that’s making the movie today perhaps grew up playing the game, eagerly trying to save the princess. Hence, imagine the passion that must go into the making of a movie that brings to life the one character that dominated their childhoods! That’s one thing the makers of The Super Mario Bros. Movie are trying to leverage. 

When you are promoting a movie, you are not appealing to “customers”, you are appealing to “fans”. And fans can sometimes be the worst critics because they pay attention to the details. Sometimes, it feels like your fans know your content, or the character more than you do. And that’s what makes the promotions for any movie a tough nut to crack. 

So, did the marketing team of The Super Mario Bros. Movie meet the expectations of its fans? Did it succeed in building anticipation and doing justice to promoting a character that has lived in the hearts of millions of fans for almost four decades? Let’s find out. 

Within the answers to these questions lie some creative marketing inspiration as well. So, buckle up and get ready to stomp those marketing hurdle goombas

1. The key to better marketing is building anticipation 

From the time the teaser of The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released, there has been quite a buzz. And once the trailer was out, fans and critics were all praises for the vibrant visuals and the awe-inspiring characterization in the movie (except of course the backlash for Chris Pratt’s voice for Mario). 

From there on, The Super Mario Bros. Movie team has been actively building anticipation. In fact, a clip from the movie released in December helped the promotions gain momentum. It also brought in a lot of word-of-mouth marketing with fans eagerly sharing the video on socials. 

Evidently, on the social media pages for the film, the marketing team has been actively sharing content to keep up the interest in the movie for the past six months. Hence, all these efforts show the need for good teasers and trailers, and introductory videos in marketing. 

Kimp Tip: Well, the concept of “teasers” are often used in the context of movies. But marketing has become such a fun enterprise these days that teasers are no more just for movies but for product launches, business launches, and even campaign launches. 

So, if you have a big announcement to make, a product to launch, or a campaign you wish to promote, use short videos to give customers a sneak peek into what’s coming. Additionally, social media with its short-form video formats present the right opportunity for this. 

And if you need help creating these short-form product teaser videos, choose a Kimp Video subscription. 

2. Super Mario Bros. Plumbing Commercial 

One of the most important elements in The Super Mario Bros. Movie marketing strategy has been the Super Bowl commercial that won hearts Yes, we’re talking about the plumbing commercial! 

While watching the plumbing commercial, if the Mario rap featured seems familiar, it’s from The Super Mario Bros Super Show from the 1980s. 

While the video itself is quite fun the details in the execution of the idea is what makes the commercial connect well with its audience. Ever since the commercial was aired, fans have been sharing the Easter Eggs in the video, particularly with how the princess’s voice has been used for the lady in the commercial and the map that is shown momentarily. 

While the map appears hardly for a couple of seconds, the creators of the ad have managed to squeeze in several details into the map including 1889th Street as a tribute to the year 1889 when Nintendo was founded. With this in mind, don’t you agree that that’s a subtle way to capture the heritage of the brand? 

Another is the signature Luigi expression which might look familiar to those who have seen the Luigi Mansion box art. 

So, why is this Luigi expression reference a big deal? To understand this you should understand the audience group that the movie marketers are targeting. These were people who lived in times when they were not bombarded with too many visuals in marketing. 

Box art or the cover art on video game packaging was one of the biggest influencers of branding back then. So, using visuals from an old box art is an effective way to kindle nostalgia, which is great for marketing. 

3. The fully functional SMB Plumbing website 

While watching the plumbing commercial, if the website and contact details displayed in the plumbing commercial caught your attention, you’re not alone. To that end, to ensure that eager fans do not get disappointed, The Super Mario Bros. Movie marketing team put together a fully functional website. 

Evidently, the gamified experience that the team brings to customers adds to the excitement surrounding the movie and creates anticipation. 

The main landing page or the homepage has the commercial (a reminder of the need to add videos to your landing page). And every little menu area and design element on the website is interactive. You hear nostalgic game sounds and an overall vintage vibe perfectly connecting old with the new for the existing fans and the new ones as well. 

From details about service areas to realistic-looking testimonials, a testimonial video, and even some negative reviews everything on the site looks and feels real. 

It doesn’t end there. The helpline number mentioned on the website is also functional and fans are greeted by Luigi on the other side. Texting the number signs you up for The Super Mario Bros. Movie updates. 

Did we mention, the website even has a cool 404 landing page re-establishing the fact that the team has paid attention to the little details? 

If you are looking to create such on-brand, catchy 404 landing pages that stay within the theme of your website and complement its aesthetics, sign up for a Kimp subscription

4. Understand that your audience change 

Times are changing after all. While people still love fairytales – they have long given up on the idea of a princess waiting for her knight in shining armor (or in this case a plumber who dodges his way through Bowser’s castle). The makers of The Super Mario Bros. Movie understood this and gave a refreshing makeover to Princess Peach in the movie. 

As shown above, from the appearance of the character to the role a lot has changed with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Moreover, fans are loving the change. 

The way the movie makers have adapted to the changing times and allowed the story to evolve shows that no matter the size of the brand, “customer is king”. And offering what your customers are looking for is the only way forward. 

Kimp Tip: Monitoring customer behavior is not a one-time activity but rather an ongoing process. To keep up with the fast-paced markets, brands need to continuously observe how their customers’ likes and dislikes change. From your branding designs to your marketing campaigns every little representation of your brand needs to adapt to changing customer expectations. 

5. MAR10 Day – Keeping the character alive 

In this time and age where things are changing so fast and several new games and characters are introduced almost every month, keeping a character, a franchise, alive for decades is no easy feat. Nintendo has its way of achieving this. And one of the notable steps is the MAR10 Day celebration or the Mario Day celebration. 

From cosplay events to Mario game sessions, fans have their own ways to celebrate the day. For MAR10 Day celebrations in 2023, the Mario Boots were unveiled at Nintendo New York. The final trailer of the movie was also released at the event. 

A fun compilation of the classic Mario theme by the cast was another major attraction this year. This shows the power of featuring the people behind your brand and products. 

Kimp Tip: The MAR10 Day celebration shows how experiential campaigns help build memorability in branding. Events help brands connect better with their audiences and also to build brand awareness in order to bring in new leads. For the event to really bring the results you expect, you need a strong marketing strategy to promote the event on various channels including social media.

6. The Super Mario Amazon delivery boxes 

For promoting The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the team collaborated with Amazon to take the promotions to an even broader audience segment. As a part of this campaign, some of the Amazon delivery boxes were turned into signature question boxes as seen in the game. 

The team’s choice of brands for collaboration is one of the most interesting aspects here. Ecommerce brands like Amazon have the most diverse audience segments. Naturally, collaborating with them opens up the door toward better reach for a brand. 

Kimp Tip: While comparing your options for brand partnerships, one idea is to choose shoulder brands with a small overlap in the target audience. But to add more value to the partnership, choose brands that have a target audience segment that you wish to market to in the future. For example, if you are entering a new market, then collaborating with a brand that already has established its presence in the market can be productive. 

7. The Hong Kong and Taiwan event featuring movie merchandise 

Targeting its audience in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Nintendo announced special promotions. As a part of this, the brand announced a set of movie merchandise including stickers and shopping bags as freebies on the purchase of select Super Mario Switch games. 

This campaign for The Super Mario Bros. Movie shows the need for a localized approach for a globalized brand. For every brand, the best-selling products in one geographical region might not necessarily be a bestseller in another region. The kind of brand image perceived by the audience also varies from one region to another. Keeping all these factors in mind, brands should personalize the campaigns with respect to specific markets. 

Promoting the movie through its game sales is one way the brand leverages this idea. 

Kimp Tip: The campaign also shows the significance of adding merchandise marketing to your plan. As a matter of fact, as a separate stream of products or as freebies with purchases, or even as freebies for event attendees, branded merchandise has several applications. And they all help in one thing – establishing your brand identity strongly. 

Need help designing branded merchandise? Sign up for a Kimp subscription

8. Never underestimate the power of digital merchandise 

Like printed physical products, there is also various digital merchandise that brands can use nowadays. Additionally, this includes Snapchat filters, digital stickers, and other assets. This idea has also been part of the promotions for The Super Mario Bros. Movie. This includes digital merchandise in the form of mobile wallpapers and GIF stickers that have regularly been shared on the official Instagram page for The Super Mario Bros. Movie. 

9. The Santa Monica Pier drone show 

In general, good marketing aims to wow its audience and that’s what the marketing team of The Super Mario Bros. Movie achieved with its drone show at Santa Monica Pier. 

A couple of days before the release of the movie, Nintendo and Illumination hosted a drone light show featuring various characters from the movie. This gained a lot of media coverage for the film and fans who enjoyed the experience also shared video clips from the show on social media. Working on boosting the momentum just ahead of the movie release is a great idea indeed. 

10. The Super Mario Bros. Movie theme on Alexa

At the present time, promoting a movie with a fully customized Alexa theme is a trend. Because for several people their day begins and ends with conversations with Alexa. Therefore, a customized movie theme on Alexa means that users are reminded of the movie all day long.

Besides, getting your content to stay on your audiences’ minds throughout the day is not an easy task. But if there’s a way to do that, won’t you grab the opportunity? Basically, that’s what Nintendo did too. 

From playing the Super Mario quiz to listening to the theme song, users can experience the Mushroom Kingdom in so many ways. This is a free skill that customers can add to their accounts. Above all, it is quite fun. 

Are you ready to execute your Super Mario Bros. Movie inspired marketing ideas? 

To conclude, that was a roundup of some of the most talked about marketing efforts for The Super Mario Bros. Movie. All in all, which of these campaigns resonated with you the most? As a matter of fact, there are plenty of marketing lessons to take away from the marketing for this movie, don’t you agree? 

Evidently, there’s one thing common in all these campaigns – strong brand identity. If the social media posts, the event marketing assets, marketing merchandise, and other promotional materials had all looked different from each other, do you think the brand would have achieved this omnichannel presence it currently has? Not at all! 

So, if you need to achieve branding consistency across all promotional channels, it helps when you work with the same design team. Additionally, a designated graphic design team to execute your ideas will be like a 1-up mushroom. Especially because It helps your campaign come to life faster. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Kimp and enjoy the perks of working with a designated design team.