Less-Obvious Movie Marketing Plan: Not Expendable, Maybe Adaptable

A summer action adventure movie featuring well-known male action actors -- Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Dolph Lundgren, among others  -- would seem like a perfect choice for old and young men looking for big explosions, tough language, and perhaps a bromance or two.

Yeah -- but maybe not so much.

The TV advertising campaign for the movie included Ultimate Fighting Championship matches, World Cup soccer, and Tour de France on Versus. Looking at the results, the movie did very well: Lions Gate's "The Expendables" pulled in a big $35 million on its opening weekend.

What doesn't make sense here? That 40% of the film's audience were women. That's right. Apparently the movie studio slipped in a bunch of advertising, public relations and other marketing activity targeting somewhat older women.



Amazing. Did the actors make appearances on "The View" or "Oprah"? Was there a big paid TV advertising campaign for daytime soap operas and talk shows? Maybe we here at TV Watch are just plain wrong, and husbands and boyfriends  are just dragging their significant female others to this seemingly retro August action film.

To some film marketers, going after females theater-goers might be viewed as a waste of advertising money for a traditional male-targeted movie. Add in the fact this movie was opening up against -- yes -- a Julia Roberts movie. "Expendables" started up the same weekend as Roberts' "Eat Pray Love."

All the more reason for TV marketers to look beyond TV ratings, demographics and lots of traditional TV advertising dollars when it comes to selling consumer products. Look for behavioral marketing opportunities; social media platforms and trends -- and, yes, maybe a recognizable beefcake actor or two.

That said, we'll need to wait to see whether that same number of women -- 40% of  the movie's second-week audience -- comes again. Perhaps the movie shouldn't be greedy if some of them head to "Eat Pray Love.".

Whatever happens, a new marketing plan for a movie with established action stars need not be expendable.

3 comments about "Less-Obvious Movie Marketing Plan: Not Expendable, Maybe Adaptable".
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  1. John Maher, August 18, 2010 at 1:15 p.m.

    Of course, you know that the very next movie the guys who were permitted to see "The Expendables" with their wifes or giril friends will be "Eat Pray Love."

  2. Kate Lafrance from Hartford Woman Online Magazine, August 18, 2010 at 1:16 p.m.

    Great insight! I am a woman in my mid 40's who is dieing to see this film. My choice is based on some trailers and movie posters I saw when I was at the theater to see other films. Many of these actors were cool when I was younger and I like that they are still making movies. Reminds me of that astronaut movie a few years back with Clint Eastwood and James Garner ... no surprise that women appreciate older men. : ) BTW I have no interest in "Eat Pray Love" at all but really enjoyed the recent "Dinner for Schmucks".

  3. Lisa W from N/A, August 18, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.

    Sure it's interesting that 40% of the audience for "The Expendables" was women -- but how many of those women selected that movie themselves and paid for their own tickets?

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