Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a young boy whose unique face and personality inspires kindness in his new school. Rather than promote the film alone, Lionsgate took a wider marketing approach to promote Wonder‘s message to #ChooseKind.
Auggie’s disorder—Treacher Collins Syndrome—affects by around one in 50,000 real children and adults worldwide. The book on which the film is based has been embraced as a teaching tool by the Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA) and schools since its publication in 2012.
Auggie may be a fictional character, but just about everyone can identify with being the new kid in school, being the odd one out or being picked on. As kids returned to school earlier this fall, it became an ideal time to promote kindness in the classroom.
Lionsgate, CCA, GapKids and Walden Media created an educational initiative called “The Wonder Certified Classroom” that focuses on bringing acts of kindness, acceptance and inclusion for third-to-sixth grade students. The initiative includes projects, discussions and challenges for the classroom to engage in as a group.
“While serving as a cornerstone of our marketing campaign for the film, we are hopeful that the Certified Kind Classroom program brings Wonder‘s central themes of acceptance and inclusion to real life in meaningful and tangible ways,” Kerry Phelan, Lionsgate executive vice president of global franchise management and strategic partnerships, said in a statement.
GapKids joined the movement through a series of short films for back-to-school. The final short in the series, which focuses on kindness, features actor Jacob Tremblay (Room), who plays Auggie in Wonder. The brand participated in Lionsgate’s #ChooseKind campaign to coincide with World Kindness Day on November 13 and Wonder‘s release November 18.
Students could participate in a T-shirt contest, creating designs that represent what kindness means to them. The eight winning designs will be sold in select GapKids stores, with profits donated to myFace and CCA.
If there’s any place that could use a little less hate right now, it’s the internet. “Choose Kindness” is a new Chrome extension that detects and covers abusive content with banners that display positive messages. The extension’s three settings—kind, kinder and kindest—use machine learning to finding offensive content and shield the user’s eyes with messages like “kindness is contagious.” Users can mouse over banners to decide if they want to reveal the hidden messages or not.
Roma Boots, a brand that donates footwear to children in need, created a limited edition children’s rain boot designed to symbolize kindness and hope, inspired by the film. For every pair of Wonder boots sold, the company will donate a new pair to an impoverished child.
The big question is whether all this positivity makes consumers more receptive to brand messaging. Maybe so. When Ace Metrix released its list of breakthrough video ads for the third quarter, it found that those in the top one percent feature compassion, kindness and ingenuity. That being said, it never hurts to make your customers smile.
Wonder is expected to bring in at least $16 million during its opening weekend domestically, and its feel-good messaging should play well over the holiday season.