Like many others, I have read and fallen in love with the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon finishing the last book, and with the knowledge of the upcoming movie, I decided to check out the movie’s website to watch the trailer. As I dug deeper, I found much more than just a website full of information about a movie. I found a multidimensional online campaign incorporating an interactive website and social media. The Hunger Games online marketing campaign has not only promoted the movie; it has created a world in which it feels like the country of Panem actually exists. In this post, I want to break down the official Hunger Games websites that serve as the core of their online marketing strategy.
Hunger Games Website Design & Strategy
As with other movies, a general Hunger Games movie website was created that features the movie trailer, photos, posts, countdown, and more.
Digging deeper into the site, I noticed that they had created an online world around the idea of a real country called Panem. A separate site connected to the main Hunger Games movie website called the Capitol.PN network was created.
Upon entering the Capitol Network Hunger Games website, I noticed that I did not recognize the top-level domain. My first thought was “what in the world is .pn?” After doing a quick Google search, I discovered the top-level domain.pn stands for the Pitcairn Islands. This domain is only used in a hand full of other URLs, including ESPN and Groupon.
So why was this uncommon domain picked? It actually seems like a VERY smart choice. They are creating a world in which it seems that this website is the official website of the Hunger Games (not the book but the actual games) created by the Capitol of Panem. This may seem like a very miniscule change, but this was actually a highly significant decision because the URL is on all promotional materials, both online and offline.
Upon entering the Capital.PN Network, users must register as citizens of Panem. Registration can be completed by using your Facebook or Twitter account. After registering, each “citizen” is assigned to a district (this will be pivotal to the social media strategy).
Sections within the Capitol Network site include
- Opening Ceremonies – This section includes information on how to watch the live broadcast of the red carpet premier.
- Reserve seats – Where you can purchase tickets to the movie.
- District Tributes- where you can view the profile of each tribute along, which includes specific QR code for more information. This information would be beneficial in Panem for betting purposes. A live feed of Capitol updates is also located in this section.
- Capitol TV – This section features only the official trailers for the movie, or in relation to the book, these are the Capitol sanctioned videos.
Here is the Citizen of Panem ID card I was issued during registration:
It is the small details make this online marketing strategy that make it intriguing. For Example:
- On the Reserve Seats page, there are several mentions “Attendance is Mandatory”
- The Capitol Updates feed on the District Tributes page makes sure to mention “Your Trusted Source for News”
- The Capitol TV page refers to the trailers as Official Capitol TV Productions.
Though small, each of these things helps to create a more real and concrete world.
Both the design and layout of the site do an exceptionally good job of portraying the culture and control of the Capitol. Almost the entire site is designed using shades of gray, which may represent the cold control the Capitol holds over the districts. The only other color included in the design is gold, which may represent the power and importance of the Capitol. The style of the layout is highly formal and technical; it reminds me of what I imagine a website that a secret organization used would look like. I think that the design and layout of the Capitol.PN Network site does a perfect job of portraying the control and unemotional rule of the Capitol over the fictional country of Panem.
Check out my other post just about the use of social media for the promotion of the Hunger Games movie. I breakdown how using multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) helped to drive site traffic, build a community around the movie, and sustain a conversation. Hunger Games Social Media Strategy Breakdown
What do you think of the Hunger Games website?
Check out my other information on website strategy and design: