Minion Madness: Oversaturation as a Tool for Trending

Sources from BuzzFeed to major news platforms like The Guardian have recently reported on the mixed response to the advertising campaign put on by Universal for the summer children’s movie, Minions. Negative response to oversaturation is not uncommon in the marketing world, but there seems to be something different with this summer blockbuster. Not only that, but there might be a method behind the negativity often found in connection to online promotional material for the movie.

Most likely the intensity of anti-Minion sentiment is due to the sheer amount of advertising for the movie, with Universal Pictures spending $593 million dollars on publicity content for the children’s movie. The goggle-wearing yellow bumblers have found their way onto apps, videos, backpacks, toys, fast food merchandise, Internet memes, and more with seemingly mixed responses.

Aside from children who genuinely love the characters, and their grandparents who are likely encountering the meme-format for the first time, many in the Internet community would prefer the yellow henchmen stayed in their movies and off of their newsfeeds. Some have even openly blasted Minion promotional material in their own posts and comments.

This, alongside the seemingly impossible-to-escape nature of the Minion’s advertising campaign, can create a feeling of betrayal in the user about their social media feed. A space that was once owned and used by everyday people is now being hijacked by corporate America. And how does the frustrated Internet user respond? They post about it.

But this is where Internet design factors in and shows the potential brilliance in Universal’s marketing strategy. The more a subject is talked about, the more it shows up on user feeds- whether the talk is positive or not. Facebook’s complex and secretive algorithm helps assure this is the case, while Twitter’s hashtags are designed around this very idea.

The coding on these websites doesn’t care that one-third of all posts about the new Minions movie might contain the complaints of people wishing the promotional material would just go away. Whether commenting about loving Minions or posting comments expressing contempt for the little yellow folk, any participation at all causes the advertising to spread.

Maybe the trending won’t matter as the movie’s promotion fatigues more and more people. It is too early to tell how this will play out in the long run for Minions, but the strategy certainly demonstrates how marketing specialists can utilize the framework of social networks to promote brand recognition – good or bad.