I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal

burbanked_header.jpgA couple weeks ago Alan from Burbanked dropped me an email saying he’d like to feature me in the next entry in his “Bloggers of Passion” series. Being a complete narcissist I of course leaped at the opportunity to talk about myself and replied to the series of questions he threw at me.

He’s now posted his profile of me over at his place.

It’s gratifying to me that Alan seems to get what drives me to blog in the first place – that I’m passionate about various topics. He mentions the various outlets I contribute to or publish on daily (or at least regularly) and while some of them are self-published there are a few I had to earn my way onto. Brandweek, for instance. Opportunities I’ve had to write elsewhere or be quoted in various publications are, I suspect, the direct result of the passion I feel for the topics I write about as well as the fact that what I wind up writing makes sense outside of my own mind, which is an important step.

There’s a school of thought when it comes to blogging that we should be open to all points of view and not get too opinionated but I disagree. I think the only way you effect change is by evangelizing what I feel are quality tools for marketers to use and trying to change their thinking if their using the old ones. If someone doesn’t shout about it you’re not going to get their attention.

I think in that regard MMM adds more value to the online world than your typical movie blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with playing it straight and passing along casting news and such sans commentary, but the best blogs I read are the ones where someone is obviously fired up and passionate. That may be a sign of my own self-importance, but I think it’s important to put what studios are doing with their marketing in the context of the marketing profession and current trends.

I’m treading on Alan’s post so I’ll stop now. But I want to thank him publicly for giving me props like this. And if you’re not reading Burbanked you’re absolutely missing out on another blogger of passion. So hit his site regularly or just subscribe to the RSS feed today. KTHXBYE

LOTD 11/29/07

  • Online news publishers are exploring ways to re-write the Robots.txt files on their sites to, in their words, more closely mirror the terms and conditions they have for sharing their content. I still don’t buy the argument that Google News and other services are stealing their traffic, but that’s just me. (CT)
  • Along with that comes news that some site administrators may be altering their Robots.txt file to give preferential access to Google’s crawler since they send the most – and best – traffic. (CT)
  • Brightcove.tv, just days after saying it would no longer accept user-generated uploads, is looking toward the future and smartly focusing on building brand loyalty to the site as opposed to making a quick buck and hoping for the best. (CT)
  • OMG, Google is building functionality that would let you tag particular results as more or less important and relevant to what you’re looking for. This will, of course, change the course of the Internet as we know it and immediately result in the downfall of several civilizations as well. Or at least that’s the impression I get from scanning various headlines. (CT)
  • While these tips for enhancing brand marketing are specifically targeted at B2B companies, many of the general concepts enshrined in them are applicable to just about all levels of business. (CT)
  • I never quite got what eBay was going to do with Skype to begin with. Always seemed to me like they were buying it to have one more asset to make the eBay itself more attractive to a potential buyer. Anyway, BusinessWeek says the confluence of recent events may turn 2008 into Skype’s make or break year. (CT)

Movie Marketing Madness: The Savages

thesavages_galleryposter2.jpgWhen you think of independent film actors in the late 90s and 00s, two names that are sure to pop up on your list are Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. The two have achieved tremendous success by engaging in something called “acting,” by which I mean taking movie roles that require them to stretch their craft, and then going beyond the written word to fully inhabit characters that they bring to life. This is less common than you might think and so these two are quite notable for how well they do it.

The two are finally appearing in the same movie in The Savages. They play a brother and sister who haven’t communicated much in recent years but who are brought together because their aging father is sick and likely dying. So the story allows them to run the gamut from sibling humor to sibling rivalry to dealing with the fact that they’re soon to be parentless.

Fox Searchlight is distributing the movie and lets see how they’re selling this funny, small movie in a year when conventional wisdom has it that small movies aren’t selling.

The Poster

I only ever saw this one poster for the movie, but it’s a winner. Drawn in a style that evokes the independent comic book world, it shows the drawn characters of Linney and Hoffman standing behind a bench with their hands on their father, who is sitting on the bench and facing the other way. The artwork uses softer, muted colors, which is appropriate considering it’s a winter scene that’s being portrayed.

I love this poster for a couple of reasons. For one, the artwork immediately identifies it as the poster for a non-mainstream film, something that’s going to be important in reaching the target audience of more refined movie-goers. For another, it’s just interesting to look at. The viewer isn’t hit over the head with a bunch of brightly lit images. Instead you have to take a look and discover the picture for yourself. That’s a much more rewarding experience.

But most importantly, it sells the movie in a way that is consistent with the rest of the campaign, which makes me believe it’s an accurate representation of the movie. This poster tells me the movie is a small, quiet character drama about issues of family that might have a sly sense of humor about it. As we’ll see from the other marketing components, that’s a message that’s carried over throughout the campaign.

The Trailer

The trailer for the movie plays up the comedy a bit more than you might guess from the poster, but don’t get the idea there are a bunch of sight gags and pratfalls here. Instead the humor that’s presented is the sort that comes out of everyday life. There’s no exaggeration going on, just the very real situations that people find themselves in that are naturally funny.

There are moments, though, of drama, where we see the two siblings struggling to treat each other as adults and struggling to be adults themselves.

The relationships in the movie are pretty well formed and explained in this trailer. Linney’s character is obviously the more serious of the two, the kind of person who always feels – rightly or wrongly – that they burden of responsibility is always on her and so she can’t goof off like some people. Compare that to Hoffman’s character, who is set up as an aimless man-child who just isn’t as serious about serious things like his sister.

Online

Let’s dispense with the low-hanging fruit first. Since this is a Fox Searchlight release, the site operates with the knowledge that, shockingly, it’s not the only destination on the Interwebs. Like other Searchlight sites there are links to the actor’s IMDb.com pages, online stories about the movie and more. I never cease to be impressed by the way these sites embrace the larger online world like this.

savagesweb1.JPG

As I noted when I first mentioned the movie’s official website, a heavy emphasis is placed on video clips from the movie. This makes a whole lot of sense. Since the movie is going to be targeting fans of quality acting and writing, showing those two things off is an absolutely essential component of the campaign. There are about seven clips from the movie, each a couple minutes in length, in addition to the trailer on the site. If you’re not hooked after watching these then you just need to go elsewhere since this movie obviously isn’t for you.

The site’s menu actually leads off with “Accolades,” a list of all the critical praise the movie has received so far. Again, this is a great thing to focus on online since the audience for smaller, prestige pictures is heavily interested in what the critics from publications they enjoy are saying. They tend to put a great deal of stock in these reviews so it makes sense to highlight them on the site.

After that there are usual content areas like Story, Cast, Filmmakers and Photos. All are good, but are more standard and I want to focus on what’s really sticking out at me on this site since the standards are so high.

Overall

It’s hard to find fault with this campaign. From a terrific poster to a solid trailer to a really nice website, there’s nothing much wrong with it. Usually there’s at least something I can pick out but I’m drawing a blank here. This is a movie whose campaign has sucked me in from the moment I first saw the trailer. I think it hits all the right notes it needs to in order to connect with the audience it’s going after.

This could be the movie that turns around the indie-slump that’s been occurring. At least I hope it is.

Quick Takes: 11/28/07

filmstrip.jpgUgh. Hate to do this, but everything is getting cleared out of my RSS saved items queue because if it isn’t it will end badly for someone. I’d love to opine more on some of these but schedule of other stuff just isn’t going to allow for that.

  • Fox TV is asking viewers to go online and create their own posters for “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles.” The winner of the fan voting will eventually get a trip to the show’s premiere party in Los Angeles.
  • According to eMarketer, consumer spending on movie downloads is expected to hit $846 million by 2011, up from just $114 million this year. Might help to have more movies available for download, which is one thing keeping that number down right now.
  • Speaking of downloads, apparently Xbox 360 users have had some problems, enough that Microsoft is offering refunds to those who found missing films, multiple charges or other hiccups.
  • Defamer warns Justin Long that there are darker days ahead on his promotional tour for Alvin & the Chipmunks.
  • ShootOnline has another piece about red-band trailers.
  • MTV’s movie site is discussing the online efforts for Dark Knight, Dewey Cox and others.
  • Speaking of The Dark Knight, Hollywood Chicago unlocks the latest online puzzle and finds even more sites for branches of the Gotham City government and public services.
  • Adam also has the details on the I-AM-IMMUNE street challenge for I Am Legend.
  • ComingSoon reports that a trailer for Prince Caspian, the second Chronicles of Narnia flick, is being shown exclusively at one of Disney’s resort theaters right now.
  • Mary Ann Johnson at the Flick Filosopher is tired of the Clovefield campaign and all the fake outrage over pirated YouTube clips when, she believes, that was part of the strategy to begin with.
  • Kristen at Mashable is listing all the reasons Blockbuster’s MovieClique Facebook app isn’t working for her and will likely fail.
  • Punisher artist Tim Bradstreet says he’d love to work on the poster for the Punisher: Warzone movie since he did the art for the source books.
  • Slusho made another appearance on “Heroes” last night. Has it occurred to anyone looking for tie-in clues that the “Heroes” team is just fucking with us? Come on.
  • Check out trailer for Man in the Chair and Dirty Laundry.

Narcissim? On the Internet? I just don’t believe it.

From The Onion:

In what is being called a seminal moment in Internet history, a rare weekend post by 25-year-old blogger Ben Tiedemann on his website bentiedemanntellsall.blogspot.com rocked the 50 million-member blogosphere this Saturday.

Within two hours of going live, Tiedemann’s 15-word post received 34,634,897 comments.

Holy crap.