Monsters versus Aliens SEO Strategy – Stupidity or Genius?

In General Marketing, The Digital Marketing Blogby Alan5 Comments

You’d be hard-pressed to have missed Paramount’s new ‘Monsters versus Aliens’ movie advert. It contains a suggested search keyword instead of a website address, advising viewers to “search for mva” to find more information on the new film about a girl who is hit by a meteorite, turns into a big monster, gets captured by the government and acquainted with a gang of monsters, and inevitably ends up saving the world from aliens.


Anyway, as Adam on One Idea pointed out, upon searching Google for ‘mva’, the film’s website is completely absent from the top natural search results. There is a pay-per-click ad at the top of the search results, with a messy url and ‘mva’ in the link text.


The Monsters vs. Aliens website is clearly not optimised for ‘mva’, as it is completely missing from the organic search results which MVA Consultancy continue to dominate.Considering the time and resources available to a company like Paramount it’s surprising they didn’t try to attain the top search result naturally for ‘mva’ before using it as a search keyword.

As John pointed out in his post about Orange’s ‘I am’ keyword campaign last year, it is easy for competitors to piggy-back this type of marketing campaign simply by bidding on the term ‘I am’ or ‘mva’.

It could be clever; the pay per click advert is costing Paramount, but it could also provide some useful marketing insights. The analytics for the Monsters versus Aliens website could easily distinguish between people searching for the film site as a result of seeing the trailer or print advertising (searching for “mva”), compared to those who have read a movie review or heard about the film by word-of-mouth (searching for ‘monsters versus aliens’ and ‘monsters vs. aliens’ most likely).

Andrew Girdwood settled it by pointing out that there appears to be no sign of a tracking URL in the redirect, or destination page, and no results, paid or organic, are appearing in Yahoo! or MSN for the “mva” search term.

Stupidity then.

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  1. Maybe it is not that stupid, it depends how you look at it probably.

    The ROI of a high budget movie is determined in the first weekend of exhibition. The offline advert directing traffic to the adwords campaign is just a sales cost.

    SEO is more of an investment than a cost. Optimizing a microsite whose lifetime would be as long as the duration of the offline campaign would not benefit Paramount in the long term?

    Lokku Labs

  2. Thanks Ruben, and a good point.

    What seems silly is that Paramount’s “sales cost” could easily be pushed up by other PPC bidders for the term ‘mva’ though. If others started bidding Paramount would either pay more and more for the top spot or start to drop down the rankings.

    I think it’s useful to see SEO as an investment, but considering the site ranks top in organic search for “monsters versus aliens” already, I don’t see the need to promote the film with an ambiguous acronym for a search keyword.

  3. Agree with all.

    If this is a case of ignorance instead of stupidity, well, it’s up to us Internet marketers to educate the market!

  4. Pingback: MVA | Think Search

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