Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Many Methods of Movie Marketing: Part 2

The second of four parts that will cover all the different methods of movie marketing. This is mainly for my film students who are looking at the relationship between film producers and audiences. First we looked at how producers get information from audiences and now we move on to how producers give information to audiences. You can find part one on posters and trailers here.

Films with large marketing budgets can also afford to do radio and television advertising. These TV and radio spots are very short mini-trailers for the films and are expensive but tell a large audience about the films. They can be targeted by the programmes and times that they appear in the media. A film can have several different TV spots that target different audiences by highlighting different elements of the film. For example Shaun of the Dead had TV spots that emphasised the romantic comedy elements and others that accentuated the zombie conventions. Some TV spots highlighted the critics reaction to the film by including quotes (see below). Distributors can also place adverts in other types of media such as magazines and newspapers. Film magazines in particular will feature many mini-posters for new release films.

Increasingly film producers and distributors are using the internet to market films. This can be similar to other media advertising with banners and other images from the film appearing around websites. For example at the top of the Total Film website on 7th December 2012, there was a banner for The Dark Knight Rises out now to buy on iTunes. 

Also YouTube and other video sharing websites have become some of the best places to watch trailers. Not only are they all uploaded by either fans or the studios, but often before people watch a video on YouTube, they have to watch an advert which could be a trailer for a film. Studios also fork out for an official website for their films. For example The Hobbit has a site that has an image gallery, videos, and special features and downloads and these official sites also often include games, particularly if it is a family film. It also features the official worldwide release dates. 

The Blair Witch Project was an excellent example of a website that built interest in a film. The makers had not a lot of money to promote their film and so created a detailed backstory about the events in the film and made the website appear as if all the events in the film were true. It got people talking and allowed them to explore the mythology further. 

Other films have since made fake websites to help sell the film. This viral marketing is becoming one of the most popular ways of building interest in a film long before it is released. The idea is that people get involved with the marketing and share it and discover it themselves. Cloverfield had fake websites including one for the fake drink Slusho that tied into the film ( Warner Brothers also created fake campaign websites for the character Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. They even went much further:

On December 3rd a new page appeared at with a hammer game and some teddy bear toys. Each toy had an address on it located in a number of cities around the US. The note on the game told people to go to that address and say their name was "Robin Banks" (get it, "Robbing Banks") and they'd get something there. It was first come, first serve, and each location was a bakery. What they were given was a cake with a phone number written on it. Now here's the best part: inside the cake was an evidence bag (complete with Gotham City Police printing) that contained a cell phone, a charger, a Joker playing card and a note with instructions.’ (

Another type of marketing is using other companies to create promotional tie-ins. The hope is that if the film studios let a fast food or drinks company use their logo, it will increase consumer awareness and the company hopes to increase sales of their product through association with the film. This is like branding and increasing brand recognition. Burger King and Warner Brothers joined forces to create the The Dark Whopper and a cinema and television advertising campaign promoting the product and the film. 

More recently Volvo teamed up with the producers of the Twilight Saga: 

Volvo launched the Lost In Forks online contest, in which Twilight fans navigate an XC60 through the town of Forks, Washington following clues that lead to Edward’s home. It doesn’t matter that many of the contest participants won’t be old enough to drive in real life. Volvo said moms will take a look at the XC60 based on their kids’ enthusiasm’ (

 Part 3 on merchandising and premieres coming soon! 

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