Category Archives: Movie Marketing

History of the movie trailer is a great watch

I’m extraordinarily late to this, but the “History of the Movie Trailer” video that recently made the rounds is absolutely worth watching. Here’s the full write-up with background notes if you want to fully geek out over it.

The History of the Movie Trailer from on Vimeo.

Mobile an important part of the movie marketing process

There are a lot of good points made in this story about research into how moviegoers use their mobile devices for a variety of purposes. But the one that stuck out at me is that 87 percent of those people used their phones to further research a movie they’d seen an ad for elsewhere.

There’s always been a gap here in terms of fully utilizing the mobile experience. Too many times there not much waiting for people on a mobile-optimized site or even within an app. There’s little to continue to feed the initial excitement that comes with seeing an awesome trailer and wanting to learn more beyond, say, watching the trailer again or a simple cast list. It’s a missed opportunity.

Tumblr makes its Hollywood play

Tumblr has hired a director of media to help sell the value of the platform to Hollywood studio execs looking to market their movies to the young people who have flocked to the social blogging platform over the years.

You can easily take the perspective here that not only is Yahoo, which owns Tumblr, looking to maximize their ad revenue in an important entertainment vertical but that they’re pouncing on some Facebook weakness. A story a couple weeks ago centered around how Facebook was having trouble getting movie studios and their agencies on board as advertisers for any of a number of reasons.

But there’s also the risk that they’re jumping on this a tad too late. A handful of stories in the last year have purported to show Tumblr’s popularity, particularly in the younger demographics, is starting to wane, in part because of more frequent advertising. Still, TV studios and networks have been all over Tumblr promoting their shows, so it makes sense for the social blog to go after more entertainment dollars.

The state of movie marketing

Adweek’s Gabriel Beltrone has an interesting story about how much the big studios spend on marketing their movies in a given year and more, including the size of their social network audience.


If I were going to quibble with anything in the report, it’s that the “Social Scorecard” section seems to just focus on the brand pages and profiles and not the accounts created for individual movies. Those are important numbers to include since otherwise it looks like they’re messaging to a relatively small group of people.

Facebook not getting the movie advertising love

According to a recent Adweek story, Facebook is having trouble attracting big ad dollars from the Hollywood studios. The lack of buy-in seems to be due to a mix of not feeling the desired demographic is actually on Facebook, that there’s little to no story to tell there through ads and more.

It’s an interesting shift, particularly when you get to the part of the story about how studios are doing more with Tumblr, which *does* seem to match their demographic targeting needs better. I’ve been watching movie marketing long enough that this, if substantial and widespread, would represent a third great shift in social network marketing, from MySpace to Facebook and now to Tumblr, with Twitter acting as the connective tissue between lots of that.

Of note is one agency executive who calls Facebook out for not being visual enough to appeal to younger users. Making Facebook into more of a visual experience has been the guiding principle behind many of the network’s recent acquisitions and changes for precisely this reason, to attract more young users and provide a more appealing playground for brands – and their advertisements – to be in. Which is why there’s such eagerness for the auto-play video ads Facebook has reportedly been testing.

It should be clear that this is just about advertising on Facebook. There doesn’t seem to be any move away from movies having a presence on the social network, promoting the film through various updates and so on.

Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer

Talk about taking things in a vastly different direction.

While the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to date have all contained – and been marketed as featuring – a fair amount of humor, this one positions laughs as one of the central selling points of the movie. But you know what? It’s the better for it, breathing some fresh air into the lungs of the Marvel movie machine and showing that while there may be a formula, it’s alright to mess with it a bit.

There are a lot of things that I like about this trailer in addition to the general tone it strikes. First and foremost is that opening sequence, which is really how I hope we first meet Star Lord in the movie. It starts out as a clear play on the famous introductory scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. But then as soon as Star Lord is questioned and we find out he’s not as famous as he thinks he is, it turns into something more along the lines of Firefly/Serenity, with Star Lord as Mal Reynolds, the big tough guy who’s absolutely not going to get into a gun fight he knows he will lose. And that perception continues through the scene of him being processed by the authorities, where we see his clear disdain for said authorities.

While some have called the trailer a risk in how it “tells” instead of “shows,” I think this was necessary. If they had gone the other direction and just shown a bunch of action sequences without some introduction to these characters, who are not all that well known beyond hardcore Marvel Comics fans, the outcry would have been exactly the opposite, with commentators asking why we should care about the characters before we know anything about them or even who they are.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer

This second trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which debuted during last weekend’s Super Bowl, works for me on just about every level.

It’s a nice expansion on the first trailer, featuring footage from that earlier one that’s then built upon in this installment that shows it’s not just action-packed but also has some emotional drama as well as humor, something that’s particularly evident in the final few seconds in the exchange about who the bad guys are and aren’t. As a fan the scenes that have me most excited are the ones that show off the movie’s take on Falcon, mostly because like Black Widow and Hawkeye, he seems to be one of a number of SHIELD agents who have been given leeway to be a bit quirky in how they do their jobs.

I have my suspicions about the character played by Robert Redford. While he’s named Alexander Pierce in the movie’s materials I feel like there’s a twist coming since the movie character seems to bear little resemblance to the comics character of the same name. I may be missing something from the Ultimates comics line, but my guess is the movie will take a queue or two not just from the Winter Soldier storyline in the comics but also the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon story that brought Bucky back and which also loosely adapted Geoff Johns’ “Red Zone” comics story. Just speculation, but it would be a nice twist for a character we don’t know a ton about and would give Redford a nice arc in the movie.