Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Promoting films through social media can be precarious. The social media marketing campaign can almost make or break a film prior to its release. While it’s more of a precursor of things to come, as social media was in its infancy, the film that comes to mind when thinking of the power of the internet is “Snakes on a Plane.” The film had a straight-forward title which also told the storyline and served as a logline. It became big news on the internet as message boards hastily went up and creativity ensued creating a cult following months before the Samuel L. Jackson film was released. Fans created a wide array of humorous art and memes, which included parodies and lines (clean version) fans anticipated would be in the film’s script. All of this attention caused mainstream media to take notice, as The New York Times covered the story, and “Snakes on a Plane” shifted the way Hollywood films were marketed to audiences. The film didn’t quite live up to the hype, as people expected it to be a big blockbuster and it grossed $62 million worldwide. Now, it’s looked at by some as a warning to remember to not let internet buzz massively influence a film prior to its release and letting that buzz about the film reach its apex too soon.

One of the many pieces of "Snakes on a Plane" fan art.

One of the many pieces of “Snakes on a Plane” fan art.

Social-networking has changed since “Snakes on a Plane,” and so, too, has the way studios market their films using social-networking. For example, the marketing team of Universal Pictures got extremely creative with its “Despicable Me 2OOH campaign. It employed digital screens throughout shopping malls that invited consumers to control and personalize the on-screen advertisement using their smart phones.  The interactive campaign covered the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Norway. It starred the Minions and was conceived by Clear Channel and powered by an app built by Grand Visual. The engaging interaction took place when consumers sent texts with commands and their names, then watched as the Minions acted out the instructions. Users were then sent a text which allowed them to share their personalized film via social media. An online version which could be shared on social media was also supported throughout the campaign.

As the first “Despicable Me” film was a huge hit, most mainstream movie audiences were probably aware of the sequel leading up to its release. However, more social media apps are popping up that are intended to turn film fans on to new film options. They also stimulate fans into going to theaters. One such app is TrailerPop, which is a unique discovery service that uses film trailers in a trivia game. It is fun to play, but also engages fans and highlights trailers which are perfect hybrids that entertain consumers and advertise films for studios. Film fans with higher scores are usually highly engaged, but what is especially powerful about TrailerPop is the social aspect as friends can challenge each other in multi-player mode.


Awareness of new films will still be created in the traditional ways – there will continue to be teasers and trailers attached to feature films at theaters, as well as TV/billboard advertising. However, social media campaigns and mobile apps are honing in on the personal interests of consumers, putting them in context, and changing the way films are marketed.

The OOH Campaign of “Despicable Me 2” was cleverly executed and truly showed the potential multimedia campaigns have. It showed the impact mobile apps can have on a marketing campaign and while taking place in a common place while being different and innovative. Universal and their marketing partners set the campaign apart from the other films being marketed at the time. While the majority of film fans probably enjoy watching trailers, TrailerPop created a new approach for film marketing that keeps fans involved while allowing them to learn about new films. Both companies differentiated themselves in different, strategic ways.

This week’s trailer is for a quirky looking film called “Frank.” It stars Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal and tells the story of an enigmatic band leader who gets the opportunity to play the heralded South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.  It looks promising for both film and music lovers.


BoxOfficeMojo. (2014). Snakes on a plane gross. Retrieved from

Walker, R. (2006, November 12). A turn of phrase. Retrieved from

West, G. (2013, June 18). Universal pictures promotes despicable me 2 with pan-european interactive ooh campaign featuring the minions. Retrieved from


There are several different ways to approach blogging. Everybody’s got a special kind of story. Like with just about everything else, there are many routes to take to get to the same place. While everyone may not get there the same way, the goal of blogging is relatively the same. Everyone wants to get readers, entertain them, and get them to come back to read your blog posts again and again. Hopefully, those readers will tell two friends. And they tell two friends. And they tell their friends. And so on.

You get the point. Everyone wants to grow the number of readers they have and, in order to do that, you must keep the readers you have entertained.  The following practices are some of the best methods to help your blog succeed.

Come up with a great headline – One of the fastest and easiest ways to grab the attention of a reader is with a great headline. This does not just pertain to blogs, but printed media as well. Many bloggers struggle to come up with a clever headline that draws readers in. That doesn’t need to be the case. Some of the same headlines have been around for decades, just with different subjects. How familiar do these attention grabbing headlines sound?

  • How safe is your (thing) from (threat)?
  • Get rid of (recurring issue) once and for all
  • The Shocking Truth about (blank)
Within the film industry, using a film title that a director or actor is know for can create an effective headline.

Within the film industry, using a film title a director or actor is know for can create an effective headline.

Besides the headlines that are based on a celebrity or recent tragedy, most of the headlines appear over and over again. The subject is the only thing that changes. Save yourself some time and borrow headline structures from the pros for your blog.

Do research – Write from experience or do loads of research while compiling content for your blog posts. First-hand experience is always helpful, but not always possible. Therefore, interesting information can be obtained in other ways. Seeking out feedback and answers from experts is a great route, as is quoting experts to shape your articles and blog posts. If you unbox or review items, experiment with the product you are reviewing and put them through tests. Share what you learn through these tests in your blog. Since someone else may feel differently about the same item than you, feel free to cite magazines or other reviews that may give a different perspective. No matter the subject, a nice combination of world-class examples, studies, anecdotes, and personal experience will go a long way. Two blogs that are known for providing thorough hands on reviews are DC Rainmaker and

Be yourself Don’t try too hard to make your writing sound good. You’re writing a blog, not a dissertation for your PhD in chemical engineering. Of course, you want your writing to be coherent and you still want to check for typos. But, don’t worry about writing well. Instead, worry about the content in your posts and what you’re trying say. Let your personality be a part of the blog, focus on the overall theme of your blog, and keep your readers entertained. Like this:

It’s important to have perseverance – Several bloggers give up shortly after starting a blog, because they may feel they don’t have as many followers as they had hoped for or that nobody is reading their blog. It’s important to remember that even the most popular blogs – the blogs with millions of followers like The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Perez Hilton, Deadspin, etc. – started off with the same followers as you. Therese Walsh of Writer Unboxed recommends: “I’m not sure who said that the difference between an unpublished and published writer is perseverance, but I believe it……This may seem like a crazy process-write, learn, rewrite. But in the beginning, it may be the best way to produce quality work. You must have something inside of you that says write, learn, rewrite, don’t quit, repeat.”

Promote Intelligently – No matter the product, the biggest thing is the marketing and promotion of that product. It’s just as important as the content, so you must understand your audience. In 2013, comedian, entrepreneur, writer, and filmmaker Amy Rubin started her own web series, Little Horribles. She states “I think there are ways to be sustaining other than ad sales. We’re in a place right now where people will pay for what they like with either a paywall or by paying for a service that curates this type of content.”

No matter the route you take to get to end result of your blog, do your research, be yourself, and keep writing.

Life Itself,” is the film featured in this week’s trailer. It’s a documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of the famous film critic Roger Ebert. It looks funny, sad, and powerful all at the same time. He’s someone who had a tremendous cultural impact for decades by bringing film criticism to the masses and is now the subject of a film. I can’t wait to watch this film. Let me know what you think of the trailer and feel free to suggest some other documentaries you may have enjoyed.

Dholakiya, P. (2013, June 20). How to blog (even if you can’t write). Retrieved from

Jaksch, M. (2011, April 19). 10 tips for writing excellence from top writing bloggers. Retrieved from

Knoblauch, M. (2014, May 24). 4 pro tips for creating your own web series. Retrieved from


Anchorman 2

The film industry uses just about every platform of social media. Prior to a film’s release date the production company introduces a fan page, often through a Facebook page focusing on promoting the film’s plot, cast, and release date. Oftentimes, a company will release photographic stills on this page of the cast and crew while filming is taking place. The photos section of the Facebook page as well as the film’s IMDB page will feature pictures that get fans excited about the film. Analytical tools similar to Addvocate and Komfo also serve as useful marketing tools to measure the promotional team’s techniques. They will provide insight of the public’s desires and interest in the film. Similarly, Twitter can be used to keep track of trends related to the film. While it’s common for production companies to use social media as a large part of their marketing campaign to promote films, perhaps no film has been promoted more on social media than Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Prior to its release in December of 2013, it was promoted in a way different than those before it. In more ways than one, its presence was felt online. Paramount struck the deepest movie partnership to date with Tumblr. Over 50 videos were produced and promoted online. The campaign also encompassed taking over The Huffington Post. On top of those strategies, Paramount asked people from around the world to audition for positions on Ron Burgundy’s news team in a YouTube competition called “Join Ron’s News Crew.” Each member of the film’s news crew also had dedicated Twitter handles. Web videos of the tryouts were promoted via the film’s website and Ron Burgundy’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Google +, and Pinterest pages. There were also an abundance of ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo. Below is an example of a Ron Burgundy tweet.

Global-marketing issues often arise when dealing with comedy, as it is subject to cultural sensibilities. As a result, the film team created customized videos dedicated for far-reaching markets like in the United Kingdom and Australia. Paramount studied their social data and saw how the videos and memes (more memes) performed in real time. By doing this, they were able to see what the fans were interested in and promote accordingly.

Let Me Off at the Top

The “Let Me off at the Top” book tour featuring Ron Burgundy.

Anchorman 2’s social nature inspired some unusual—and highly creative—partnerships. Will Ferrell appeared in character as Ron Burgundy is several commercials for the Dodge Durango. Similarly, Burgundy was also a guest on Conan O’Brien’s late night show. In addition, he interviewed modern day celebrities such as Peyton Manning and Eminem. He also went on a book tour to promote his autobiography entitled “Let Me Off at the Top.” Most likely, Anchorman 2’s approach will inspire copycats. There’s definitely more social business to be had out of the film industry. Studios’ attitudes toward social media continue to evolve, as they should. After all, social media is kind of a big deal.

In the character of Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell interviewed celebrities like Peyton Manning.

In the character of Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell interviewed celebrities like Peyton Manning.

As for this week’s trailer, I am including one for  “Cold in July.” The thriller stars Michael C. Hall, known to many for his eponymous role in “Dexter.” For those disappointed with how that series ended, this looks to have potential. It will be interesting to see this movie, as well as what tools its studios implement for promotional purposes. The U.S. release date for “Cold in July” is May 23, 2014.


Heine, C. (2013, November 24). Will ferrell’s anchorman 2 is changing the way movies are marketed. Retrieved from