How a Little Movie Set a BIG Social Media Precedent

1511161_801605806522699_1260963721_nI recently saw the movie, “God’s Not Dead.”  It’s a story about a college student who enters a Philosophy class taught by an atheist Professor.   For a small Independent movie, it had an impressive opening box office weekend earning $8.6 million in only 780 theaters. It’s splash was in part from a growing social media campaign.

In a nutshell, the class begins with the Professor saying he wants to skip the senseless debate that God exists and demands every student to write on a piece of paper:  God Is Dead.  One freshman student refuses because he says he’s Christian. The professor states if he chooses to not do as asked then he has to defend his argument every week in front of the class and risk failing the class; hence the weeks of debate begin.Whether you watch this movie or not (although I highly recommend it – it’s an amazing film), what they did sets a precedent in social media. In a scene at a music festival toward the end of the movie, the musical performers ask everyone in the concert to text their friends with the hashtag #GodsNotDead and they show thousands of young people in the audience tweeting their friends and posting on instagram with the hashtag suggested. IT WAS A MARKETING GENIUS MOMENT.  
Forget about silencing your phone.  I looked around the theatre I was in and saw many people grab their smart phones out and begin texting during the movie – which the movie itself ENCOURAGED THEM TO DO!     They got YOU “Trending” their little movie before you even left the theatre!   My own son whose 9 years old took part on his own accord on his iPod and by the time we got to the car he was thrilled that he already had several “Likes” of his post.   Once I was home, I joined the bandwagon and decided to post it on my instagram (which is a new platform for me) and I quickly received 18 likes.  Not bad considering I only have 52 followers yet.  And, one of the “Likes” was from an actor in the movie!
And, when I checked this hashtag, I found not only were people recommending the movie, but delivering some of their favorite lines along with images of the movie poster… The producers immediately created buzz – for free!


The cross-promotion for God’s Not Dead helped the film make an average of $10,979 per screen on opening weekend, blowing away Muppets Most Wanted, which made $16.5 million at the box office, but averaged only $5,170 per screen.


There are some 30 Bible verses pertaining to, “Ask and You Shall Receive.” In this case, they took it to heart.

I’d like to know what you think of this marketing move.  Please leave your comments below.


  1. I agree it’s brilliant- anytime you can get other people none the less 10’s of thousands of thousands of people talking about your business or product or topic- for FREE is totally awesome and more powerful that any paid advertising! Thanks for sharing- I’m going to watch the movie!

  2. Thanks Jennifer for your comment. It’s a very moving film as well as their social media marketing strategy that gained them a lot of attention.

  3. I agree – genius. So, how do we transfer that idea into our own businesses? If we are a product – how do we get clients who are sitting in front of us to take a photo of our product and brag about it to their friends. If we are a service – how do we get a client to brag about the quality of the service to their friends?

    Maybe one way is to have a contest – use a # and each week/month/quarter – the person with the most likes wins “you fill in the blank”. Or maybe it’s a random drawing.

    I think the important thing is to “steal”, ok I know that goes against the 10 Commandments – but this is a different stealing. Take a marketing idea that has proven to work and transfer it into your market. The tricky part is to figure out how that works into your personal product/service.

    Share your ideas – how can you make this marketing idea work for you?

    • Thanks Lois for your comment and ideas on a contest and/or drawing – most importantly as you shared about getting others talking/bragging about your product/service.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *