When it comes to the marketing strategy for this movie, the first decision was not to use the international title ‘Secret Ingredient’ for the domestic market, but instead opt for ‘Healer’ (Исцелител).
Healers, or isceliteli, are a big thing in Macedonia. Part homeopaths, part fortune-tellers, part jokers, and part wannabe-saints, these people pray upon desperate and poor people with all sorts of health problems, from hernia to cancer. Some of them even manage to achieve a celebrity status and the media often report about their latest claims or ‘miracles’.
But actually, these ‘healers’ are just a symptom of the collapse of the Macedonian healthcare system, so we sort of wanted to play with that. With a modest advertising budget, in a very limited timeframe, the Glitch Agency team developed a simple, yet very engaging viral campaign using mostly social media, and a few very basic traditional channels.
A few weeks before the domestic premiere, we advertised a mysterious healer who heals for FREE using the very traditional technique of gluing A4-sized photocopied leaflets on lampposts and doors around the city, thus paying homage to this popular form of marketing among the local healers. There was a catch, though – instead of a telephone number of the mysterious healer, we used a website address – iscelitel.mk.
The website itself at that point was a compilation of typical ailments (most of which make an appearance in the movie), and ready-made cures and recipes for them, featuring a secret ingredient. The funny and sometimes surreal recipes immediately caught the attention of the Macedonian Twitter community and some of the most popular online portals. Soon enough, the website was featured as the Website-Of-the-Day and people visited it in droves, often suggesting their own sometimes funny ailments (ex. ‘I don’t have enough sex’), the best of which were featured on our official Facebook and Twitter profiles.
The initial response was overwhelmingly positive and the premiere was sold out. At the premiere, we had a few surprises for the audience. Before entering the cinema, they were given a cake resembling the ‘special’ cake featured in the movie, and also in the lobby we put some other Easter eggs inspired by the movie (ex. glasses of water with an USB stick in it). The premiere was a success and the audience left the hall glistening with smiles and impressions from the ‘magical’ cake.
Afterwards, the audience warmly recommended the movie to all of their friends on social media, breaking the skepticism towards domestic cinema and driving more people to the future projections. After a few good domestic reviews, the stellar international reviews came in (Variety, Screen Daily). When ‘Holywood Reporter’ suggested a Holywood remake of the movie, our campaign literally became a piece of cake (pun intended).