Can you smell what 'The Rock' is cooking? Social Media Influence that's what

By Rupert Burnham | September 11, 2018

Dwayne Johnson aka ‘The Rock’ has come a long way since his pro-wrestling days. These days he is now the highest-paid actor of all time. For Red Notice slated for release in 2020 he commanded a fee of $22 million. Not bad work if you can get. He’s a busy man that’s for sure, and it seems that everyone wants a piece of The Rock. Apple even released a video ad where he uses Siri to get him through his outrageously busy day. He also happens to be one of the top movie stars according to the BitTorrent network, No.3, but No.1 if the Star Wars and superhero franchise names are removed:

Top 3 film actors on the BitTorrent network between 8th Jan - 30th April 2018

And let's face it, who doesn’t like The Rock, the man can seemingly do no wrong? Such is his appeal, that he’s even being touted as a potential Presidential Candidate for the 2020 elections in the US. Not so far fetched when one considers who currently occupies the White House as Commander-in-Chief, a glorified reality TV star.


Little wonder then that a man as popular as The Rock has some 104 million followers on Instagram. To put this in context, this number is greater then the population of the UK and Canada combined. But it’s what he’s able to do with this number of followers that is particularly of interest, especially to marketers of the films and projects he’s involved in.


But if you want access to this legion of fans, it's going to set you back. The Rampage star is asking for a $1 million social-media fee as part of his package for the upcoming Red Notice; that fee includes promoting the film on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Now this may seem like an astonishing amount of money to spend on a few tweets and posts, but considering his influence with his legion of loyal fans and the sheer number of them, $1 million begins to seem like a fairly reasonable sum. All the more so considering the impact of some of his tweets and promotional efforts.


When on the promotional tour earlier this year in April for the recently released Rampage, an impromptu performance of the rap from the film Moana (in which he voiced Maui, one of the main characters) on the Graham Norton show on 18th April, 2018, resulted in a increase in the amount of times it was downloaded via the BitTorrent Network. It’s reasonable to assume that The Rock’s legions of fans may have had something to do with this and amplified the impact. The producers of Moana must have been rubbing their hands in glee, free publicity resulting in an upswing in interest in the film. Not bad for a film that was actually released at the end of 2016.

Unique Downloads observed across the last 5 Disney Animations on the BitTorrent Network between 8th Jan - 31st May 2018


That’s not to say that Moana wasn’t a popular title before The Rock started promoting it. The UK Official Video Chart 2017 (including all digital retail, Blu-ray and DVD) placed it as the third highest grossing title of 2017 after Beauty And The Beast (2017) in second place and Rogue One - A Star Wars Story taking the top spot. In the US it proved to be even more popular where it was the top-selling disc in 2017 with more than $114 million in revenue from combined disc sales of more than 4.3 million units. Nonetheless for just one promotional effort to have had the impact that it did is astonishing. Not only did it boost the number of downloads, but by actively promoting the film it he gave more prominence to the title and helped to ensure the continuation of the film’s popularity and its re-entry in the top 20 of the biggest DVDs and Blu-Rays of 2018.


Given The Rock’s continued promotion of Moana, it should come as no surprise that data from BitTorrent network shows that its his second most downloaded film after Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017).

Top 3 films from the top 3 film actors between 8th Jan - 30th April 2018


This certainly isn’t the only time that the Rock has used his star power to good benefit, his tweet about the fact that he had suffered from depression was widely praised for drawing attention to an issue that many men suffer form, but that are unwilling to talk about.


His ability to attract attention to issues or projects he cares about or has a vested interest in draws parallels with the rise of influencer marketing. This a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.


A case in point is the Kardashians, arguably the world’s most influential family on social media. One only has to look at entrepreneur Kylie Jenner’s tweet about Snapchat’s controversial new redesign. The redesign had already garnered a lot of negative attention though when she tweeted about, the impact was devastating. Her tweet to her 24.5 million Twitter followers: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” caused Snapchat’s share price to drop by 6%, wiping some $1.3 billion off the company’s value.


It seems like Star power isn’t what it once was, it has now become something more, it’s not just the power of instant recognition, stars can wield real, influential power, hence The Rock being able to comfortably request a $1 million social media fee.


In a recent post we suggested that the mantra that content is king was no longer enough for producers, and that it was the experience that could be provided around the content that was the key to future success, sales and longevity. In doing so the entertainment industry is drawing from advertising and the continual rise of the already well developed field of experiential marketing. With star power and the real influence that it now wields are we seeing a similar evolution? Are we seeing a blurring of the lines between promotion, marketing and entertainment whereby entertainment stars are drawing on and tapping into influencer marketing?


Experiential and influencer marketing, is the way that the entertainment industry is going? If not, judging by the impact of the examples given, it certainly should be. As for The Rock? Hark to his word, it’s worth it’s weight in gold.


Tags: actors bittorrent dwayne johnson idris elba moana the rock