'Affluenza' Film Gets Social Kick

For a movie with a limited marketing budget, word-of-mouth and social buzz can be a make-or-break opportunity. 

For its upcoming release, “Affluenza,” FlimBuff -- a company that licenses independent films and distributes them across digital channels such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and others -- is relying only on social media events and programs to attract a teen audience to the film’s release this Friday. 

“In the same way a TV show creates a live event [for broadcast], we’re going to have a ‘live VOD’ release,’” Patricia Nelson, head of marketing at FilmBuff, tells Marketing Daily. “Social is something I’m super-passionate about, and it’s a great way to reach our [target Millennial] audience.”

The film tells the story of an aspiring young photographer who moves to Long Island in the summer of 2008, finding himself caught up in a heady world of money, sex and privilege, according to IMDB. This week, the company is hosting live tweet events with the film’s stars, Gregg Sulkin and Nicola Peltz, at the film’s premiere and during a viewing party on its release date. After the release, FilmBuff will use Facebook’s Slingshot app to engage consumers with a “guess the star” picture contest, based on visual cues.

“There’s a lot of great imagery [in the film] to leverage in an active way. In social, you don’t want to sit back and be passive, you want to keep moving and engage,” Nelson says. “The audience doesn’t want us to go out there and push messages to them. They want us to get out there and make it more of an event.”

The company is relying on the film’s stars' social media followers (Sulkin has more than a million followers on Facebook and 800,000 on Twitter; Peltz has 25,000 Facebook followers and 36,000 on Twitter, and Grant Gustin, another star of the film, has 180,000 on Facebook and 403,000 on Twitter) as a way to excite young fan bases about the project on platforms that have become their primary communication tools.

“We wanted to be sure we leveraged social to the best of our abilities because our cast is super-active,” Nelson says. “Our cast was definitely a factor to have it be more of a social push than a traditional marketing push.”

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