*WB's 'Short' Gets Big-Time Push
Entertaindom.com is Warner Bros.' online independent entertainment destination that includes short-form content, live concerts and entertainment news, as well as e-commerce related to its entertainment properties.
To draw traffic to this destination, Warner Bros. hatched "Mission:Imp," a 10-minute spoof starring Verne Troyer (a.k.a. Mini-Me). In the film, Troyer mimics Tom Cruise's character by battling evil using gadgets such as a fuel-injected, pedal-powered tricycle.
To hype the film, the studio is marketing it in much the same way it would any other summer release -- by forming an alliance with a major food chain. Winchell's Donuts is sponsoring the Web spoof.
Consumers receive one of four collectible trading cards when they purchase a dozen donut holes at any of Winchell's 250 stores. The miniature trading cards feature Troyer in action sequences -- riding his tricycle and scaling cliffs, for example. Each store also will carry point-of-purchase collateral materials.
"This is the first time an online movie used offline promotion," said Jordan Sollitto, chief marketing officer at Entertaindom.com, Glendale, CA. "We're making much bigger hay of this than anyone else could. We have quite a marketing machine here."
In addition to the movie's presence at Winchell's, the film is being shown on video walls at the 150 WB Studio Stores. The company also has placed a billboard on the Sunset Strip to promote the film. "I'm not aware of any other Internet movie getting a billboard," Sollitto said.
Before the movie's launch, Entertaindom ran a teaser ad on its site. It collected consumers' e-mail addresses by asking them if they wanted to "request top secret Mission:Imp updates and reminders." Fans received an e-mail yesterday reminding them that the film is live today. The site will continue to mail to this database of names to alert fans about other new films.
Expect to see many more spoofs at the site, as this is the first of a multipicture Web deal between Entertaindom and Fiasco Films, Los Angeles. Under terms of the deal, Fiasco Films will make six to 12 spoofs of Hollywood event pictures during the course of the year. Most will premiere within the first month of the feature film's launch. The two had partnered previously to create "Scream 33 1/3," another short film.
Future celebrity appearances are likely, according to Sollitto. "This was the first film to launch on the Web with a celebrity," he said. "There are other deals in the works."
Entertaindom.com launched in November 1999. The site earns most of its revenue through advertising.