Cannes Lions

The Harder They Fall

NETFLIX, Los Angeles / NETFLIX / 2022

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Case Film
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Epic Westerns have come and gone over the last century of world cinema. That is, until now. “The Harder They Fall” is the New West, retelling an important period in both American history and cinematic history through the lens of those who were cut out of it for so many years.

The brief called to leverage the unique look of the film and invite consumers to step into the world of Redwood City.

The main objective was to create an experience that would sustain engagement, spark conversation and ignite organic WOM across marketing, publicity, and social - press, fans, and influencers.

It was also extremely vital to create outsized conversation for Netflix’s loudest, most influential audience groups with the potential to generate earned media coverage from the national press.

Idea

For three days, in the heart of NYC’s Meatpacking District, Netflix popped up a bustling little Western town to promote the release of Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder They Fall— Welcome to Redwood City

At the heart of the film is not only Redwood City, but everyone behind the scenes working to bring this film and this world to life.

It was critical to shine light and place a huge emphasis on the production: Wardrobe, music, writers, creators, and Jeymes himself were essential to this story being told both on and off screen.

Every touchpoint inside Redwood City combined the feeling of a movie set with the black history of the American West.

The activation was a moment for audiences to step into the world of the old west, using key moments in the experience to inform about the real characters portrayed in the film and their impact on history.

Strategy

This film undoubtedly appealed to Black audiences as the core, there was a strong commitment to diverse storytelling on a global scale by positioning this as a massive tentpole event.

Younger audiences and females, who typically don’t steer towards Westerns, were captured by leaning into the modern music elements and strong female characters.

The Harder They Fall world is stylistically and visually rich lending itself well as an immersive experience with high consumer interaction and social media engagement.

To tell the story of the black cowboy in America you need great black storytellers and a bustling boomtown in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District would stand as a compelling medium for black storytellers from across the country.

Through educational touchpoints, considered programming, and thoughtfully selected collaborators, a traditional walkthrough experience transformed to a culturally relevant moment that, like the movie itself, celebrates the legacy & culture of the Black Cowboy in America.

Execution

Located in the heart of NYC's Meatpacking District, and inspired by the fictional Black town of Redwood, we built an interactive exhibition centering the legacy and culture of the Black Cowboy in America.

This reimagined Redwood City was authentic to the film by pulling in both one to one elements and taking inspiration to design elements specific to the activation.

Gansevoort Plaza became Redwood City during the day. This open-air instatrap became a daytime marketplace featuring customization workshops and educational opportunities with in-character actors staged throughout for attendees to interact with.

The build included:

Two Pop-up Marketplace Tents

C.A. Boseman Train Car Museum

Tintype Photobooth w Takeaway

Chain Stitching Customization

Cowboy Camp w/ Storytelling

Performance Area

Stagecoach Mary’s Saloon

Every touchpoint inside Redwood City helped visitors learn the story in a way that combines the feeling of a movie set with the black history of the American West.

Outcome

Over 4,000 visitors came through across the three days taking with them custom hand-chain stitched bandanas, tin type style photos, and a deeper understanding of the cultural connections & historical significance of The Harder They Fall.

We set out to deliver Fan Joy and educate consumers around the legacy of Black Cowboy. We delivered against that goal with both the in-person attendance as well as online engagement with organic assets.

Attendance doubled each day for the in person event and digital impressions across social continued to grow over the following week. All influencer and media coverage were organic.

Over 4.5MM impressions garnered through organic influencer posts, broadcast, local radio, and local press coverage. Though difficult to measure changes in consumer behavior over a short period of time, consumers showed their appreciation on social and encouraged others to attend and learn more about the real life of Black Cowboys.

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