Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Movie Marketing, Moving Forward?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on another one of my favorite marketing topics – movie marketing. Recently, John Dodd’s from the “Make Marketing History” blog was one of the lucky few to catch an early screening of upcoming movie – Frank Miller’s 300.

Commenting on the post-screening Q&A session with “personable, unpretentious and funny director and informed and passionate questioners (comprising graphic novel fans and bloggers)”, John concludes that all this social media should be made available to the movie’s target audience – copyright-free.

It’s the sort of sociable media that should be intrinsic to the marketing of the movie and not just be destined to be a DVD extra and this time it won’t be because, as the Warner executives with whom I drank afterwards explained, they are trying to facilitate the needs of bloggers by providing access to a media website from which they could freely extract clips, trailers and official images. The film of the Q and A will be added to it

Welcome to targeted movie marketing:

Well, John, I think that’s already arrived to a great extent thanks to MySpace and YouTube. I just checked out 300’s MySpace Page and it has 194,967 friends! Imagine as a movie marketer, your ability to invite almost 200,000 of your most passionate core, word-of-mouth audience for special screenings.

That’s where MySpace’s Black Curtain Screenings plays an integral role. I’ve already written about these screenings when I wrote about Borat’s Black Carpet and it’s initial craze. These are no-brainer ideas to maximize your marketing to evangelists of your movie.

I couldn’t agree more with John that user generated social media content related to the movie should be packaged as a free “social media kit” that bloggers can use to evangelize the movie. I think Warner Bros. already has some behind the scenes footage on 300 here.

Do you know of any other movies that create customizable social media kits? Chris?

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9 Responses

  1. 300 is going to kick butt. As I was a comic nerd when I was much younger, I appreciate Frank Miller’s gritty style of comic books and movie-making. Sin City isone of my favorite movies visually, and I am excited to see the new movie come to the screen (if only Frank had a hand in Daredevil, a character he helped revive in his Marvel days).

    Watch for this movie to be a stunning visual extravaganza. I would also expect it to be a sleeper hit.

    “Imagine as a movie marketer, your ability to invite almost 200,000 of your most passionate core, word-of-mouth audience for special screenings”

    My thoughts: I think a good percentage of these folks would be Frank Miller fans.

    Note: I think the number of fans entirely depends on people that admire your work. Borat, for example, had a fairly loyal following from the HBO Ali G series.

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  2. Mario Sundar says:

    Damon,

    Sin City is one of my all-time favs too. Loved the non-linear story telling style. I didn’t know Daredevil was one of Frank Miller’s characters.

    I can’t wait to watch 300 given its phenomenal teaser trailers. I hope the movie is a hit, cos then you can expect Hollywood paying attention to grittier fare like this one.

    Marketing-wise, I think Warner Bros’ embrace of the blogosphere is because the core target audience for 300 resides within the geekier, passionate, comic-book loving blogosphere. Great move.

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  3. John Dodds says:

    Mario

    I had the same suspicion about the geeky blogger connection with the movie, but the screening audience was very diverse – it included cast and crew members and, I think, some press people.

    The bloggers were a small group, split evenly between geeks and marketing types and Warners’. avowed aim is to spread the movie wider than the genre “fans”.

    My rationale is that anyone seeing the passion of the Q and A might be attracted to the movie whereas the moniker “from the graphic novel” is clearly appealing to the MySpace fan crowd. I should have made that clearer perhaps in my post.

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  4. Chris says:

    Hey Mario – Link bait much?

    Regarding your question of movies that have created customizable social media kits, the best example I can think of is a media site that Warner Bros. created for Superman Returns that allowed you to grab embed code for banners and other graphics. Other than that I don’t think most studios like the idea of making stuff available in a social media format because it’s not trackable – and that’s where they really need to focus in order to justify their budgets.

    MySpace is great and all but I still think that the actual execution leaves something to be desired. It’s great that all those people have become the movie’s friends, but look at Clerks II. Kevin Smith created numerous profiles related to the movie and even incentivized participation and eventual attendance by offering to put the names of the first X number of people in the movie’s credits. Even so, I don’t think a fraction of the people who became MySpace friends actually went to see the flick.

    So the answer to your initial question is just about none, which is unfortuante.

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  5. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi John,

    Well, to me it seems like Comic-Con where a lot of movies are introduced to the throngs of comic book fans, who take the msg. and evangelize to their friends and peers.

    The event you attended is definitely intriguing and a welcome one, at that.

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  6. Mario Sundar says:

    Hey Chris,

    I wanted to hear your take since you’re the movie guru. Thanks for your response.

    How about if we quantify the number of times the components of a social media kit is clicked/streamed, etc… like no. of times a video is viewed via YouTube?

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  7. CThilk says:

    The problem, I think, is that the prevailing attitude at studios revolves around getting the user data. Numbers aren’t enough – they need email addresses and demographic info. This is what’s slowing down the adoption of RSS and why almost all movie sites prompt you to “Register for Updates.”

    The thing about it is, it would be fairly simple (I think) for the studios to provide embed code of their own that could be customized for a particular blog or site that would allow them to see who’s spreading the word and how many impressions they’re generating.

    It’s too bad they’re not thinking more social media-y. It would be a good thing if they were.

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  8. [...] an interesting discussion going on over at Mario Sundar’s place regarding the use of social media as a component of movie marketing. Mario pretty much [...]

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  9. Mario Sundar says:

    Chris,

    I think it must be a no-brainer for studios to create YouTube replicas on their sites, stirring the viewers appetite for viral videos, clips from movies, behind the scenes, outtakes, etc…

    And that’d actually bring more web users to their site where they can also start selling tickets a la Fandango.

    Social Media for movie studios is a mandatory necessity. The sooner they realize it, the better for them.

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