Category Archives: Movie Marketing

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.

Reinventing the wheel with every release

There’s not a whole lot that’s new in this story about marketing movies to young audiences and the challenges therein, but this is the key graf that looks beyond that to the problem with the whole darn system.

With so many movies being produced, you would think it would make it easier for studios to retarget the same or similar fans from one movie to the next. But studios tend to market each film individually, as if each were a newborn baby, often starting from scratch to build an audience, market the film, and distribute it. For example, the “Hunger Games” demographic is probably similar to those who will go out and watch the upcoming, similarly-themed film “Divergent.” Nevertheless, because of the nature of the studios and the manner in which they’ve been marketing films in the past, the studio will likely start from ground zero. And every movie, each time, is treated like its own little startup, with new people, new PR, new marketing, new everything. Talk about expensive – and tiring!

via Getting ‘Gen Z’ into movie theaters | PandoDaily.

There’s more behind the “short trailers” directive than starting movies on time

So yeah, this is happening:

In a move sure to ignite plenty of debate in Hollywood, the National Association of Theater Owners has released voluntary guidelines calling for movie trailers to be no longer than two minutes — 30 seconds shorter than is the norm.

The guidelines also specify that a trailer cannot be shown for a movie more than five months before its release. Nor can marketing materials be displayed inside of a theater for a film more than four months away from release.

via Theater Owners Enact New Guidelines Calling for Shorter Movie Trailers – The Hollywood Reporter.

A couple thoughts:

One: This has to also be about in-theater advertising at some level. If they can cut down the time the trailers take it’s more likely that time would be filled by additional ads and not used to speed up getting to the feature film.

Two: I still don’t get why there aren’t more “internet-only” trailers that are created that go outside the 2.5 minute restrictions. If studios can’t put the trailer they really want in theaters, they can still put it on their own sites. Come on, this is no-brainer.

Movie trailers have changed, man

A great piece on how movie trailers have evolved over the years and why trailers from just 10 or 15 years ago seem hopelessly square and odd by today’s standards. Absolutely worth reading and here’s the story’s thesis statement:

Ultimately, it’s because a trailer is built around the advertising ideas and dominant media of its time. In other words, a trailer is as much a product of its media environment as it is reflective of the film it’s selling.

via Why Classic Movies Have Terrible Trailers – Adrienne LaFrance – The Atlantic.