About Meet the Hitlers

Meet the Hitlers is a feature documentary that examines the relationship between names and identity by exploring the lives of people who are linked by the name “Hitler.” The film raises important questions about the meaning of names, and explores complex issues like immigration, racism, and tolerance. Yet it’s ultimately a character-driven story, offering an intimate portrait of its subjects, whose reactions to their name span the spectrum of human experience, from tragedy to comedy, and heartbreak to hope.

About Matt Ogens

Matt Ogens is an accomplished filmmaker whose career has taken him from work with MTV, CBS, and ESPN, to segments for CNN Heroes, hosted by Anderson Cooper, which took Matt around the globe and to the front lines of Iraq. For his efforts, Matt has earned three Emmy Award nominations. 

Matt’s previous documentary, Confessions of a Superhero, exposed the world to an eccentric group of actors chasing success in Hollywood — but are all stuck impersonating comic book characters on the Walk of Fame. The film screened at the SXSW and AFI film festivals, and it went on to enjoy a successful theatrical release under the Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) production banner. The film aired on The Sundance Channel and is one of the most-watched documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Snag Films, eventually moving to Showtime.

Marketing

Working with Matt Ogens and his social media team, TRUST developed a marketing strategy designed to introduce the world and select press targets to the characters of the film leading up to the film’s debut at the New Orleans Film Festival. The plan included a controlled launch of the film trailer and its companion interactive site to minimize potential negative public response to the film’s subject matter.

Developing an online campaign called “#whatsinaname” (referenced from Romeo and Juliet), TRUST encouraged online audiences within various niche communities (World War II, Hitler, Pokemon, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Transformers, Star Wars, etc) to engage with the content and ponder the importance of names in the formation of personal identity. This lead to a more organic leveraging of these communities to gain attention for the trailer in advance of the later launch of the Meet the Hitlers interactive site.

The strategy included:
A social media campaign designed to unify all social accounts and establish the voice of the film
A Tumblr site with character-driven image and video content to humanize the themes of the film
Banner advertising to spread awareness on the film and Tumblr site
Social media buys to help build online communities
Text, video, and photographic content creation
A targeted PR campaign in support of the trailer debut

Design/Development

TRUST designed and developed a Tumblr site at whatsinaname.me, including a wide variety of text, photo, and video content to populate the site on a regular schedule. With posts detailing  absurd names throughout popular culture (including the Hitlers profiled in the documentary), the site contextualizes the theme of the movie while firmly establishing its quirky tone and diffusing tensions caused by the Hitler-centric subject matter.

The content was heavily researched to be current (pulled from recent news items), suitably tongue in cheek, and tied to active online communities. This funneled organic traffic to the trailer while building overall awareness.

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Content also spread to social media, where TRUST was tasked with designing Facebook and Twitter accounts from the ground up. TRUST also managed these accounts, creating custom urls and interacting with fans to build up the community. These efforts were supported by a short banner advertising campaign with materials also designed by TRUST.

Public Relations

TRUST worked with Ogens to identify the sensitive angles of the movie’s subject matter and give them a more lighthearted, less controversial spin. TRUST then curated a targeted list of consumer, film, advertising, and technology publications, creating a PR plan designed to help the movie achieve the most attention possible among users, reviewers, and prospective festivals. By carefully constructing a tiered pitching strategy, TRUST was able to help push the trailer into the mainstream with more than 100,000 plays in the first weeks and more than 100,000 total unique page views.

Selected Materials:
“Documentary Invites You to “Meet the Hitlers” with Social Media Campaign #whatsinaname”
“Meet the Hitlers: Jim Riswold”

The Results

Meet the Hitlers was a massively successful launch for an independent documentary, garnering attention from a host of consumer, film, business, and culture publications including Vice, Fast Company, Ryot, Daily Mail Online, and Adweek. In addition, the effort helped build a strong social media community of critics and enthusiasts to be leveraged toward future initiatives and movie announcements. Feature placements helped funnel valuable traffic to both the trailer and interactive site, fostering further engagement. These stories were also send to perspective festivals under consideration for screening Meet the Hitlers.

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Vice: There Are Far More People Named Hitler Than You’d Think

FastCo: What’s In A Name? Meet The Hitlers And Find Out

Ryot: This Trailer for ‘Meet the Hitlers’ Shows Us What’s in a Name

Adweek: Meet the Adman Who Really, Really Likes Laughing at Adolf Hitler

Mail Online: Found: The REAL Hitler Diaries…

Newstalk Radio 610:  Larry Fedoruk Show – Meet the Hitlers Interview

Gambit: Review – Meet the Hitlers