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Jun 24, 2024
(Updated on
Jun 24, 2024

Jump Starting Summer: How Marketing Enhanced Bad Boys: Ride or Die as the Blockbuster of the Season

"Bad Boys: Ride or Die was anticipated to continue the success of its beloved franchise upon release. However, it encountered significant challenges amidst a tough box office climate, recent controversies surrounding Will Smith, and limited appeal to Gen Z audiences. The film's marketing strategy relied heavily on traditional methods, including digital campaigns, collaborations, partnerships, and extensive press tours.

Photo from Bad Boys Site

Nostalgia Strikes

The Bad Boys franchise captivated its loyal fanbase by tapping into nostalgia, appealing to longtime followers who have witnessed its evolution over decades. The marketing team skillfully incorporated nods to the original film through various strategies. For instance, Will Smith engaged fans by posting a video on Instagram. Dressed in black, he stepped into a Porsche reminiscent of the one he and Lawrence drove in the 1995 Bad Boys movie. This clever throwback was underscored by the nostalgic anthem "I'm Just a Kid" by Simple Plan, a song popular on TikTok and Instagram for its themes of childhood memories. Despite effectively resonating with existing fans, the campaign struggled to connect with a broader Gen Z audience.

Social Media Mastery 

The marketing strategy appeared condensed, with the first trailer launching just three months before the film’s release. Nonetheless, the team executed a robust and highly successful social media campaign. Their agile approach involved tailoring content to suit each platform’s unique audience and trends, a key factor in the movie's box office triumph.

On TikTok, the campaign took center stage, quickly amassing 891.9K followers and 11.4M likes across 90 uploads. Engaging directly with fans through video replies, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence personally interacted with audiences by responding to comments and tagging users. They also created TikTok-exclusive content, including a playful rendition of their famous line “Bad Boys, Bad Boys, what you gonna do,” cleverly adapted to “TikTok, Tik Tok, what you gonna do.” This ongoing interaction fostered genuine conversations between fans and the cast throughout the promotional period.

Photo from Bad Boys TikTok

A TikTok challenge emerged, inviting users to showcase their “ride or die” companions through lively videos portraying their Bad Boys spirit. Khaby Lame, TikTok's most-followed personality with 162.5 million followers, made a cameo appearance in the franchise's fourth installment. He collaborated with Smith and Lawrence to create bespoke social media content tailored to the Bad Boys community.

@khaby.lame POV: The Bad Boys doing too much 🔨🥒 #badboys : Ride Or Die is exclusively in theaters this June @Bad Boys: Ride or Die @Sony Pictures #sonypicspartner ♬ original sound - Khabane lame

While the Twitter and Instagram campaigns were less tailored, they effectively leveraged each platform's strengths. Twitter featured concise, action-oriented content, while Instagram emphasized character interactions and highlights from the cast. However, what distinguished this campaign was the remarkable engagement of the cast, particularly driven by Will Smith. According to Fanbox, in the week prior to the release, Smith tweeted about the film 100 times, surpassing the official Bad Boys account's 43 tweets. On Instagram, Smith shared 60 posts during the same period, twice as many as the official account's 30 posts.

Iconic Duo Harnesses Authenticity 

The success of the "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" marketing campaign can be attributed significantly to its focus on the iconic duo of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Central to this success was its ability to authentically showcase the bond between these two stars. A standout example of this approach was the "Look Back" featurette, which eschewed a traditional promotional format by having Smith and Lawrence reminisce about their experiences on set across the franchise's films.

Another impactful element was the GQ interview, where Smith and Lawrence engaged in a "friendship quiz." This interview not only promoted the film but also reinforced the genuine friendship between the actors, echoing the camaraderie of their on-screen personas and underscoring the campaign's theme of authenticity.


In the latest thrilling installment, Smith and Lawrence were not the only dynamic duo. The Porsche 911 Turbo S from the 992 generation plays a pivotal role as the ultimate ride in this action-packed blockbuster. This marks its third appearance in the beloved franchise, with Porsche also making a grand entrance at the global premieres of the film. Alongside the current film car, the iconic 964-generation Porsche 911 Turbo, famous from the first movie, graced the event in Los Angeles. Additional Porsche Turbo models made appearances at premieres in Berlin, Dubai, and Riyadh, adding to the glamour of these star-studded events. In Berlin, actors, filmmakers, and international guests arrived in style, arriving on the red carpet in Porsche sports cars.

Photo from Porsche Newsroom 

Star-Studded Promotion 

The promotion for "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" cleverly featured sports icons Lionel Messi and Jimmy Butler alongside actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The campaign, perfectly tailored to its Miami setting, captured authentic moments of camaraderie between the athletes and stars. The promotional video, titled "Whatcha Gonna Do Jimmy?", not only showcased their comedic chemistry but also strategically aired during the NBA Finals to engage their target audience effectively.

World Tour 

The global promotional tour for Bad Boys: Ride or Die, orchestrated by Will Smith and Sony Pictures, generated substantial excitement across three continents and ten cities. The tour included stops in Dubai, Riyadh, Madrid, Berlin, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, and Miami, featuring glamorous red-carpet premieres at many locations.

Highlights of the tour included a memorable arrival in Los Angeles aboard a double-decker bus, accompanied by a live performance by Will Smith. In Mexico City, an impressive crowd of 50,000 fans gathered, showcasing the film's immense popularity. Notably, the Hollywood premiere in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, marked a historic first for the franchise.

The marketing campaign also made significant waves in the music industry, partnering with platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and Soundcloud. A standout collaboration with iHeartRadio included the Ride or Die Sweepstakes, integrations on morning shows, and activations at red-carpet events. Additionally, a special soundtrack listening event hosted by Spotify at their Los Angeles offices treated influencers to exclusive previews of unreleased tracks, including "Light Em Up" by Will Smith featuring Sean Paul, and "Lights Out" by BIA featuring JID. The event featured a Q&A with rapper BIA and an early screening of the film, adding to the excitement surrounding the release.


Bad Boys x Spotify? Now that’s what we call a party. Listen to the bangers on the Bad Boys: Ride Or Die soundtrack, streaming now.

♬ Bad Boys Ride Or Die Is Now Playing - Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Will Smith also delighted fans by disguising himself to sneak into theatres and watch the movie alongside them. At the end of the screening, he revealed his presence, much to the surprise and excitement of everyone in attendance.

Despite facing challenges in a competitive box office landscape and navigating recent controversies, "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" demonstrated a masterful approach to marketing that resonated deeply with its dedicated fanbase. By leveraging nostalgia through clever callbacks to the franchise's roots and engaging directly with audiences on social media platforms like TikTok, the campaign successfully cultivated excitement and anticipation. The authentic camaraderie between stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, highlighted in promotional efforts like the "Look Back" featurette and GQ interview, further bolstered the film's appeal. While it faced hurdles in expanding its reach to Gen Z, the strategic use of traditional and digital marketing channels ensured that "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" maintained its status as a cultural phenomenon and a box office success.

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