Movie Marketing: Content Is Critical
This fall’s edition did not disappoint with none other than the cast of Anchorman 2 gracing the cover in all their coiffed and mustached glory. Flipping through the pages, I was struck by a singular thought: There are a lot of movies I never see.
And therein lies the challenge for movie marketers – there’s a lot of competition for consumer attention not only from other movies but from television, live events, the Internet, social media, and our mobile devices. Movies are a product with a limited shelf life. If you don’t capture attention and translate it into ticket sales that opening weekend, you’re often done for at the box office.
For this reason, examining what Hollywood’s doing to market its latest properties should be of interest to not only movie marketers, but every marketer. Here are a few current campaigns that caught my eye and provide some food for thought:
1-855-5CA-RRIE. Yes, they’re remaking Stephen King’s Carrie (again). They’re also cutting through today’s movie marketing call-to-action clutter by asking viewers to call Carrie. Dial the number and you’re not only dropped into the creepy White household, you’re also asked to opt-in to ongoing phone and text communications. At a time when teens are phone-a-phobic and text-addicted, asking consumers to “call Carrie” resonates because it’s unexpected.
@RonBurgundy. The lead character of Anchorman is a veritable quote machine. His quips are built for Twitter; and yet, the character didn’t have a Twitter account until March 2012 and has only tweeted 18 times of this writing. I know Will Ferrell’s a busy man, but surely there’s a writer on Paramount’s lot that could channel Ron daily—perhaps the gent who penned his upcoming tell-all, Let Me Off at the Top!: My Classy Life and Other Musings. In a bit of good news, while Ron may not be tweeting, the Anchorman 2 just launched with ready-made GIFs to share with friends. I expect much more of this “add water” social content as the sequel’s release date approaches.
Celebrating the Music of Lleywyn Davis. The Coen Brothers’ new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, is set in the pre-Dylan folk scene days of Greenwich Village. In advance of the film’s release, they have put together an all-star concert in New York City with proceeds going to The National Recording Preservation Foundation. While only a lucky few will see the sold-out concert live, it will resonate far more widely thanks to social media, thereby increasing awareness of not only the release of the movie in December but also the soundtrack.
Thor: The Dark World App. Not surprisingly, Marvel/Disney will be supporting the release of Thor: The Dark World with a mobile app game. Apps have certainly become commonplace among tent pole, blockbuster films; however, few have staying power. A notable exception on my iPhone is Action Movie FX. Released in 2011 as part of the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol marketing campaign, it remains on my phone for one reason—my kids love it. With just a few clicks, they can add explosive movie effects to any video they shoot. For some reason, they enjoy blowing me up with missiles. Go figure. The lesson for marketers: Done right, your app can not only market your movie but also live on long after and generate revenue or visibility for other releases.
The Monuments Men. There’s nothing spectacular about this movie’s marketing…yet. But when you have George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray, I expect big things. And when the story is about a rag-tag team sent to save priceless, cultural treasures from the Nazis during WWII, I also expect to see a creative use of Pinterest, Instragram, and/or Vine to help tell the true stories of the art saved from destruction. Right now, all we have is a great trailer for the film—here’s hoping we get the rest too.
The common theme among these movie marketing efforts? Leverage your product’s strengths and provide content that your target audience can take from one channel and share wherever they wish. That could be the best cross-channel marketing you’ll ever do.