The Expendables will premiere in theaters nationwide this weekend. Directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring the SWAT Pack – my new name for the cast, comprised of Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger – the film’s an ode to blockbuster action flicks of the 80’s and 90s. Feels kinda like an Ocean’s Eleven, except with mercenaries, high-tech guerilla warfare, and tattoos.
To drum up anticipation for this weekend’s release, the good people at Lionsgate tapped two starlets of online video. The first was Taryn Southern, who hosted the live streamed, red carpet show at The Expendables premiere. And the second was Shira Lazar, who interviews Stallone for what at first appears to be a blah press junket that quickly turns explosive.
The Expendables channel on YouTube is the latest page on the video sharing site to get the takeover treatment. As Stallone sums up plot lines, individuals pictured in the related videos come to life, pointing automatic weapons at the 64-year-old movie star. The arms race quickly escalates until half the page is turned into smoldering ash.
Pioneered by Nintendo in late 2008 with its advertisement for Wario Land, the YouTube takeover is by no means a novel marketing tactic, but it’s still pretty sweet. Megan O’Neill notes how Lionsgate is the the third company to debut an out-of-the-video-box campaign on YouTube within the last two months. In June, Samsung released the first ever YouTube takeover game. In July, Cadbury Australia promoted its Dariy Milk Rollpack on YouTube with the help of a circular video player.