Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Selects Alumna to Lead Digital Marketing

September 6, 2023 (Santa Monica, Califorina) - “I loved watching movies growing up,” said Briana McElroy ’11. She had her favorite movies and could quote her favorite lines from her favorite actors. Little did she know that one day she would be working alongside the same actors and directors she so admired as a child.

In February of this year, the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group named McElroy, a Jackson Mississippi native and Belhaven alumna, head of worldwide digital marketing. This lead role is crucial because her department is one of the main communication channels that promotes their upcoming movies.

While with Lionsgate, McElroy has led 360 digital campaigns for releases such as John Wick: Chapter 4, starring Keanu Reeves, and will lead upcoming releases including The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Now You See Me 3, to be directed by Ruben Fleischer. The Lionsgate film slate also includes Expendables 4Ballerina, which expands the John Wick universe; and many more.

“I’ve always loved movies. I’ve always loved their creativity and storytelling. I was over the moon when I discovered this career. I get to have fun for my job. Are you kidding?”

McElroy works closely with directors, producers, and even actors. “It’s awesome to meet actors that I’ve seen in movies growing up. They’re obviously highly creative and highly motivated people, and that energy is contagious.”

Now a part of the film industry, she not only realized the amount of effort that goes into making a movie, but the work actors put in to promoting their movie. “I had to go on a promotional tour with a star once. My job was to be everywhere this person was and capture social media content. I remember looking at the schedule and seeing days start at 4:30 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. The talent put a lot of time and energy into shooting the movie, but there is tremendous work that goes into the publicity and marketing of a film as well.”

McElroy leads a large team that have various roles. “My team is comprised of social media, digital strategy, and creative asset leads,” said McElroy. Her team is constantly listening to fans and monitoring social media to develop the best content possible to help market movies.

McElroy’s job requires a good amount of multitasking. She is working on many films at different stages. “Even when a movie release is just a week or two away, we are simultaneously working on other campaigns. We might be preparing for a trailer launch for a different film that doesn’t release for another year, or even planning on-set content capture on set for a movie that hasn’t even gone into production. Honestly, there is work being done on every single movie at any given time.”

When asked if she had a particular movie she was looking forward to, McElroy said she couldn’t pick a favorite. “When working on these, you’re working on a piece of art that someone has put their heart and soul into. It means the world to them, so it all means the world to me. We’re being trusted with the care of these stories. It’s a big privilege and responsibility.”

Before her appointment as head of worldwide digital marketing, McElroy served as Twitter’s global client lead in media and entertainment for over two years. While at Twitter, she oversaw partnerships with Warner Bros. Discovery and The Walt Disney Company.

Before Twitter, she was director of digital marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures, driving digital marketing campaigns for Wonder Woman, Kong: Skull Island, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ocean’s 8, A Star Is Born, and Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Warner Bros. is one of the oldest studios in Hollywood, and this is where McElroy’s career took-off, giving her valuable experience on major motion pictures. McElroy added, “I loved every minute of it. It’s where I would say I grew up in terms of my career. I learned so much.”

For McElroy, her job is more than just promoting movies and advertising. She believes her job brings value beyond herself because she gets to help propel something that people can connect with. “You know, the thing that I always go back to is that in dark times, and happy times, and in many ways, since the dawn of time, the thing that is consistent about humanity is our love of stories, I think for a lot of us, it’s because they help us feel less alone. They help us laugh when we’re down, or cry when we need to. They are an essential part of the human experience, and to help share these stories with the world, well, it is a privilege.”

“When I worked on Wonder Woman, the number of little girls who would come up to me dressed as little wonder women – wanting to be superheroes – it all moved me to tears. I think I cried throughout that whole campaign because I was so inspired.”

According to McElroy, her career skills and knowledge were sharpened while studying at Belhaven University as a communications major. During her time on campus, her love for storytelling grew. “I remember one of the things I learned while at Belhaven was from a professor in my writing class. He said something along the lines of, ‘Every story is interesting depending on how you tell it.’ So for me, there is always a good story, and I admire and appreciate the storytellers for the magical work they do.”

Her time at Belhaven University was meaningful. She loved the way the curriculum connected. “When going through classes at Belhaven, everything you’re learning is in sync with the topics you’re studying in other classes. That ultimately deepened my curiosity in everything. It built a comprehensive view of the world as it is, as it was and as it might be.”

Now in a successful career for one of the world’s most prominent studios, McElroy encourages current students with this advice. “It may feel like a risk and sometimes things don’t work out, but take the risk and do the thing that is exciting and inspires you. Because there’s a way to really love the work that you do.”