Double Parked E-Mail Has Fast Start

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If the movie "Double Parked" catches on as quickly as its viral e-mail message has, this upcoming independent film might be the next "Blair Witch Project."


Fierce Films unleashed a viral marketing campaign last week to build a buzz for next Tuesday's New York release of the movie. In three days, the "Issue a Summons" e-mail was forwarded 7,000 times. Considering it was initially sent to 150 people, the film's creators are calling the campaign a success.


"It's working very well. Response has been tremendous," said Stephen Kinsella, producer, co-writer and director of "Double Parked."


"The e-mail is a great way to get the word out. People think it's clever and fun. Hopefully we can get those people out there in the seats," he said.


Cyber-NY Interactive, the full-service interactive agency that created the campaign, came up with the idea of a summons to promote the film, as it is a story about a feisty meter maid. The e-mail includes a link to www.fiercefilms.com/fiercefun.html, where the sender can issue a summons that accuses the recipient of violations such as mystery odor, fashion crime and chronically late.


Once the sender has completed the summons, he is brought to FierceFilms.com where he can view the movie's trailer and get more information about the film's story and cast.


Recipients can respond to the accusation and call up to three witnesses via e-mail to defend themselves.


Since the film has a shoestring budget, there are no television commercials, bus ads or billboards. This makes the campaign all the more valuable. "We're one of those 'Blair Witch' people who just want to get the word out there," Kinsella said. "This is one of the most innovative ways you can."


In the independent film world, opening weekend can make or break a movie. "Double Parked" will be released only in New York next month and in Los Angeles Oct. 12. If it takes off, it might be picked up for major distribution.


"You have to get people in there so the other theaters pick it up. If no one comes, the money's down the drain," said Damian Bazadona, partner/business development at Cyber-NY Interactive, New York.


However, a successful viral marketing campaign does not guarantees a box office smash. A good example of this was the film "American Psycho." A campaign consisting of daily e-mails featuring scenes cut from the movie drew more than 200,000 unique visitors to AmericanPsycho.com, but the movie drew marginal crowds at best.
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