I don’t have a ton to add to it, but this story about how independent filmmakers are turning to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in order to build buzz for their movies is a good one, with lots of good nuggets of advice and thinking. Definitely worth reading.
I’m a big fan of Mondo’s posters for new and classic movies for the same reason most people are: They’re inspired works of art. Instead of having to fulfill contractual obligations about the size of X star’s head in proportion to the title or being the result of a design-by-committee process that’s built to strip away any and all originality they speak to the core of a movie and convey a sometimes complex message about it. They work to tell a story in a new and interesting way. The best art often does.
Anyway, Mondo is getting a gallery show in Austin, TX in late February showing off the best of their artwork and Wired has a look at many of the pieces that will be on display.
My default setting is “completely on board” for anything the Coen Brothers put out. I even like big swaths of some movies that otherwise misfire like The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty.
But this trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis is just fantastic and promises the kind of dry, darkly comic story the Coens do incredibly well. There isn’t any big, outsized character on display here but instead looks like a unique story of a wandering, aimless folk musician. This is one I all of a sudden can’t wait to see.
MediaPost has an article about how well movies that have been nominated for an Academy Award do after receiving that nomination.
There are lots of interesting stats in there about how much of a financial boost a nomination, on average, provides for those flicks. But it’s all premised on a very simple marketing principle:
Now people are talking about the product.
The problem so many of these smaller, independent movies run into is that they are smaller, independent movies. They don’t get the carpet-bombing ad and publicity campaigns that the big blockbusters do. But after an Oscar nomination these movies are mainstream, or at least more mainstream then they were previously, and no longer just the weird recommendation of that one person you know who always sees movies you’ve never heard of. Now they’re something *you* should see as well because they are officially “important.”
According to this Variety story, MMS continues to be a big part of the movie marketing department’s toolbox. Not only because text messages have an open rate just a little bit shy of 100% – and most of that happens inside of four minutes – but the video delivered is of high quality, making it a good user experience.
What strikes me as a I read this story is that text has fallen by the wayside, at least in terms of conversational buzz and cool factor, compared to apps and responsive design and other things we now lump under the term “mobile” as we talk about marketing strategies. But, at least for the entertainment industry, it’s still working at a high level. And more and more marketers in Hollywood are taking direct control of building these campaigns instead of outsourcing it to the tech department.
One other interesting take-away from the story: Marketers are feeling an increasing amount of pressure to crack the location-relevant nut, something that apps excel at as they pinpoint where a mobile phone owner is and when they’re there.
Hollywood movie studios are, according to a Los Angeles Times story, beginning to sour on Facebook and its place in the movie marketing mix. The core issue seems to be the lack of substantial return on investment being seen from efforts there, something that’s only been made worse in the wake of Facebook’s algorithm changes, which put restrictor plates on how many people see any given update from a brand page.
Studios, like companies across all industries, saw varying degrees of drops in both engagement and reach around their Facebook updates.
And that’s kind of the main problem that people have had with the September Facebook changes: If they are spending money – either in the form of dedicated publishing resources or Facebook ads – to drive people to Like a page then there is some kind of expectation that the entire audience will see subsequent updates. Instead most Facebook pages see reach numbers that are somewhere in the five percent range.
Something that’s not addressed in the story but is also likely playing into the decreased engagement is the favored studio tactic of creating a new Facebook page for every single movie that’s released. So every single campaign involves reinventing the wheel and building an audience from scratch.
Whatever the case, studios and other companies are on Facebook because of the audience that’s promised on that platform. If they continue to see that promise not delivered on without additional dollars being spent for negligible results then attention will start to be turned elsewhere.
This study has some interesting stats on how people are finding out about, and getting recommendations on, new movies from their social network friends as well as how people are or aren’t following movie pages on Facebook and Twitter. But the story that passes along that story loses some credibility when they name-drop Gene Siskel like he’s still a current, living film critic.
The two most interesting numbers from the study to me are the 63% of fans that say contests and promotions are what get them to Like a movie’s Facebook page, something that’s in-line with most studies about why people connect with a brand on social networks, and the fact that fans are four times as likely to follow a movie on Facebook than they are on Twitter. That’s a lot of one-off Twitter profiles that are out there now dead and inactive.
Via Anne Thompson:
…the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s hotly-anticipated “Lincoln” will debut at an epic scale, being live-broadcast in Times Square through Google+ Hangout on September 13 at 4pm PT.
I might be wrong but I think this will be the first trailer to debut on Google+. We’ve seen trailer debuts on Twitter and Facebook and now this is coming to Google’s social network.
What strikes me is that instead of being just a pure social media play this is happening in Times Square, the scene of so many PR stunts designed to “start buzz” and otherwise reach masses of people. To me that says this is as much, if not moreso, about Google+ and showing Hangouts off to the general public as it is about showing off the first trailer for this much-anticipated movie.
Hollywood is doing more than using Twitter and Facebook as mere promotional tools. After several years of experimenting, studios have thrown themselves deeply into a medium which is still barely understood. They are now developing elaborate social media campaigns early on, sometimes as soon as a film gets greenlit. Researchers are conducting deep numerical analysis on posts and tweets to guide marketing decisions, sometimes predicting box office revenue with pinpoint accuracy. They’re looking not just at opening movies, but sustaining their word-of-mouth through subsequent weeks. And they are getting more surgical about targeting their ever-fickle, ever-elusive core audience of young people.
Movie marketing has always been something of a black art. Studios typically intensify advertising the month before a movie opens, spending heavily on a barrage of television spots. Upcoming films are now surfacing on social media far earlier. On July 14, nearly a year before the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s “After Earth,” the producers released a video in the form of a Facebook timeline using headlines and photos to describe the historical run-up to an alien-driven apocalypse (the film stars Will Smith).
I’ve yet to see a major movie marketing effort on Twitter or Facebook that I really liked and that was engaging, interesting and enough to make me really tune in to what was going on. Mostly that’s because I have no bandwidth for short-term campaigns, which is what all movie marketing campaigns inherently are.
The story also resurrects the anecdote about how 2009’s Bruno opened big on Friday but then was savaged by immediate (hugely negative) reactions posted to social networks and once again presents this as a case of social media contributing to the sharp drop-off of a movie’s box-office. While there may be some truth there the story fails to adequately point out that this isn’t special, it’s just an example of social media amplifying word of mouth, not some wholly new creation that has to be feared.