Building movie buzz online

In a Web 2.0 world, it’s no longer enough for a film studio to simply show consumers a 60-second trailer of a film. Studios must engage potential moviegoers on the social networks, Web sites and mobile phones they use and enjoy on a daily basis in order to actively reach audiences.

“Radio and television are passive,” says Chris Gomersall, creative direc­tor at Moxie Interactive, a digital marketing agency, which helped 20th Century Fox create a Facebook application for Jumper. “This kind of stuff has real audiences who are really purchasing things.”

As a rule of thumb, when marketing on Facebook or other social net­working sites, a brand must offer the consumer something, rather than just pushing a brand message.

“To make social network apps successful, you [can’t] make them too much like ads,” Gomersall notes. “If you offer something people want to use, they can live with a header featuring a brand name, because the brand provided me with something I wanted.”

This can range from games to applications a social network user can apply to add creative elements to their page that tie in with a particular film, to pretty much anything a creative marketer can come up with.

“It’s about giving people what they want,” Gomersall continues. “Face­book apps are really starting to take off, and of course iPhone apps are popular. This will become huge, and marketers should know how to engage these users.”

Ken Graffeo, COO for PointRoll, which worked on iPhone rich media ads for Focus Features’ Burn After Reading, says movie studios realize they have only a short amount of time to engage a consumer, and are “really pushing the envelope” to giving con­sumers a personalized experience.

“They do not just rely on a TV spot anymore,” Graffeo notes. “There are some online ads where you have the option to check out a number of different clips from the movie; it’s about giving people a personalized experience about how they get their information.”

Graffeo says it’s also important to engage people on their mobile devices with information on a movie, because that is where in an increasingly larger and younger set tends to get their information.

“People are on the go,” he says. “You want to reach as many people as you can, and reach them as many times as you can.”

When a studio can get enough people to share online ads and trailers with friends, it can help a film get as much publicity as any television or radio ad, says Iain Molland, North American CEO for Vividas, a stream­ing video company, whose company created a high definition trailer for the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

The 2006 film Snakes on a Plane is often cited as an example of an otherwise minor movie that received massive mounts of hype due to its popularity on the Internet.

“Viral is an increasingly important part of marketing and advertising,” says Molland. “When you have good content and it attracts people, then they tend to pass it on to others that they know.”

Molland said that viral marketing campaigns can often work better for lesser known movies than popular franchise movies, which people may tend to already know about. However, he adds, “I think with films, there’s no one sort of buzz; you want all the buzz you can get.”

Gomersall says these marketing channels will force studios to engage in a more active conversation with their customers.

“In the past, you announced and had a push, now you have to listen to people and talk back to them,” he explains.


Burn After Reading
iPhone ad

PointRoll created a rich media ad for Focus Features’ Burn After Reading, exclusively for the Apple iPhone. The interactive ad came up when users browsed certain Web sites, and allowed them to view a short trailer or click on icons for further information about various characters in the film. The ad had more than 138 million impres­sions, with 4.1 million user interactions.

Facebook application

Facebook users could “jump” their friends to a number of exotic locales and even play a minigame through Moxie Interactive’s Facebook campaign for Jumper, a film which focuses on teleportation. When a user “jumped” a Facebook friend, a picture of the location and a message would appear on that person’s Facebook news feed. After its initial run, the campaign was repur­posed to coincide with the DVD release of the film.

Quantum of Solace
Online HD trailer

Vividas created an extended, HD trailer online for the Sony Pictures James Bond film Quantum of Solace. The streaming video trailer could be e-mailed from a viewer to others, and was featured on the Sony Pictures Web site. The trailer featured additional content than what was seen in televi­sion commercials. It ran on the Sony site for about eight weeks prior to the release of the film.

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