Lessons from Straight Outta Compton’s Social Media Marketing

Straight Outta Compton premiered Friday and finished with an amazing $60.2 million open weekend at the box office. Only costing $25 million to create, the N.W.A. biopic has one of the highest grossing August open weekends in recent years. The movie had the typical movie marketing leading up to its release including online trailers and cast interviews. Since the movie is about the legendary Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, it couldn’t be released without a cool piece of marketing. If you have been on any social media platform the last two weeks, you’ve likely seen a “Straight Outta Somewhere” meme.

Fans were able to go to www.straightouttasomewhere.com insert their picture and hometown name into the movies poster. Celebrities including Serena Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Ed Sheeran, LeBron James, and Bette Midler even got into the fun making and sharing their own memes. Yes, Bette Midler did a throwback to her Hocus Pocus days and made a “Straight Outta Salem” meme of her character Winnie. With celebrities and everyone young and old making memes, the buzz around the movie grew quickly close to the release. A movie about rap’s most notorious and “dangerous” group is already cool, but the memes added an additional interactive, cool layer. Fans felt like if you didn’t go see the movie, you were missing out on being a part of popular culture at the moment.

Straight Outta Somewhere

Did everyone that created and shared a meme go see the movie, probably not, but they helped announce and promote the film possibly attributing to its success. When it comes to having a successful social media campaign, four things matter creativity, context, interaction and shareability. This campaign had each of those components. When creating your next social media campaign, remember these four lessons from Straight Outta Compton.

  1. Creativity

Social media is so saturated with brand content that only the creative are seen as strong and thrive. Straight Outta Somewhere was a campaign that allowed the consumer to think they were creative by interacting with the content. Campaign creativity can come to life in various forms including the hashtag you use, the actual design creative, concept, or platform you use. See what’s already been done time and time again and try something new. Social media is about testing new ideas to achieve new results.

  1. Context

Straight Outta Somewhere was relevant to the context of the movie. Everyone comes from somewhere and has a story to tell. Also, we should all be proud of where we come from and where we are going. This campaign struck an emotional chord and played on that with NWA fans, movie fans, and regular consumers. Be sure your campaign is placed in the right context to consumers that will allow them to emotionally connect to, find timely and relevant.

Bette Midler


  1. Interaction

Are you just asking your consumers to follow, post, or share something? You should be asking them to interact with the content. That’s why Straight Outta Somewhere was so great, because people were able to insert themselves into the campaign. Consumers want to interact with your brand and your campaign. Allow them to do so and you will see the results that you want.

  1. Shareability

Social media was created to share content. If your campaign content is not shareworthy, it will not be successful. With new Facebook and Twitter algorithms and policies, people will not see your brand’s content unless you pay or your fans share it. The point of Straight Outta Somewhere was to create an image and then share it across platforms. At the heart of the campaign was shareability which led to its success. Find out what your consumers are already sharing and incorporate that into your campaign.

If your campaign hits on the above and is socially relevant to your consumers, you will likely have a viral social media campaign. Happy sharing!

Straight Outta Compton


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