Over the years we have become increasing accustomed to the traditional form of marketing associated with every Hollywood box office hit. Each new release, if it is to be successful, consists of a complex web of media and marketing sites: radio shows, trailers, television promotions, billboards, product tie-ins, interviews with stars, sneak previews, and movie related giveaways. However, The Blair Witch Project, a multimillion dollar grossing box office hit, is strikingly unlike the high-budget Hollywood films. Created by two independent film school graduates it had a budget of only $35,000. The Blair Witch Project, harnessed modern marketing techniques, creating an elaborate hoax using the internet and television to draw in an audience base without spending millions showing how in the contemporary film industry the small, virtually unknown filmmaker can function as successfully as the big studio in finding a venue and audience for their work on the internet.
The main marketing strategy for The Blair Witch Project focused on developing an elaborate hoax so that their audience didn’t know if the story of the Blair Witch was true or not. The creation of the hoax involved the development of a website that contained fabricated historical documents and other evidence of the witch. The team also partnered with the Sci-fi channel to release another mock-documentary called the Curse of the Blair Witch two days before the movie’s release which detailed the Blair Witch myth going all the way from it’s origins in 1785 to the present day disappearance of the three film students.
The strategy worked so well that many people believed the story to be true and that the movie coming out was an actual documentary. Many new websites were created by believers in the myth which helped further create the hoax. The Blair Witch Project revolutionized marketing for movies bringing it into the future capitalizing on the internet for most of it’s promotion.