Why Zoolander Is So Hot Right Now For Marketers

Why Zoolander Is So Hot Right Now For Marketers

When Derek and Hansel hit the runway at the Valentino fashion parade, it was a marketing boom. Kurt Sorensen, digital executive at Carat Brisbane, explains why this stunt worked so well.

A few weeks back at Maison Valentino’s Paris Fashion Show, Zoolander fans from around the globe were given an epic treat as Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson’s now cult-classic characters’ – Derek and Hansel – ambushed the runway with their signature ‘walk-off; in what could be the best piece of native marketing we have witnessed this year.

If you’ve somehow achieved the highly-improbable and missed the return of Magnum and Le Tigre, check out what I’m on about below.


Shifting sheer entertainment aside, from a marketer’s perspective this is one minute of absolute brilliance. The simplicity of the stunt is excruciating and from my opinion, Derek and Hansel’s return provides the ultimate blueprint for what all brand marketing teams and media agencies should strive for.

Execute on a big scale

For the announcement of the second Zoolander movie, Paramount Pictures set the platform at one of the biggest events in the fashion world – the Valentino Runway at Paris Fashion Week.

Big time leverage is ready to be used and an avalanche of publicity is set to follow.

The partnership works not just because of the simple connection between Zoolander being a movie about male models and Valentino as a fashion label for men. This is a partnership that works on multiple levels – Valentino provided a relevant and global platform in which Paramount could leverage the release of their movie in a novel way with scope, bound to attract practically free PR. The stunt gave Valentino not only awareness and publicity of the fashion house, but an opportunity to transcend their brand beyond the fashion world.

Create spontaneity and blend in content seamlessly

After 15 minutes of another stunning, yet predictable parade of Valentino’s finest; two God’s of fashion’s fictional underworld appear from behind the curtain.

No major announcement needed. Derek and Hansel simply strut their stuff down their aisle in the way they were born to do. Once you see these two really, really ridiculously good-looking male models you know exactly what is happening here.

Although there have been rumours of a second Zoolander movie for years, this was the first initial announcement of the movie going ahead and within a competitive market of suspense building trailers uploaded to YouTube every day, this simple stunt has garnered more earned media in a day than any entertainment production company would dream of, even for a film not slated to hit theatres until February 2016.

Use a platform that speaks to your audience and is built for great content

My favourite part of this whole crazy PR circus is the fact that a simple marketing strategy was overlayed on top of this content.

For those old enough to enjoy the first Zoolander (released in 2001) nostalgia will be powerful enough for you to feel good on the inside every time you see Derek’s ‘Blue Steel’ or hear that sound-bite ‘Is this a centre for ants?!’.

However, for all the young’uns who didn’t realise that one of Will Ferrell’s best movie roles was as Mugatu or thought that Ben Stiller only ever starred in movies in a museum as a security guard, then they need to feel the excitement and get a feeling of what all the fuss is about.

Step in SnapChat and Jeromy Jarre, who is rapidly becoming an ultimate celebrity through his exploits on every social media platform out there.

Jeremy (with his casual eight million plus Snapchat followers) was conveniently located in prime position on the runway, with his camera ready to go for another lovely Snapchat before Derek seized the moment (as always!) and took matters into his own hands. You can see this epic Blue Steel selfie here.

By putting Zoolander and this whole stunt operate within an arena like Snapchat, the movie took over an environment that speaks perfectly to the young audience that is almost guaranteed to make Zoolander 2 a Goliath hit, but more importantly, a result beyond anything that standard media could ever achieve.

Now on the tail-end of millions of online video views, massive buzz in the social sphere and tons of press coverage both on and off-line, the movie has enough momentum to last until the release date in 2016. To commemorate the whole event, Snapchat even introduced a special ‘Blue Steel’ filter in honour of the occasion. Talk about earned media.

What happens with Zoolander 2 at the box office remains to be seen, but it is undeniable that Paramount ain’t off to a bad start and it’s pretty safe to say that Zoolander is so hot right now.

Main image via The Hollywood Reporter.

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