The Big Picture: Feature Film Marketing at Warner Bros. (2 of 3)

Because having the sharpest trailer or securing the best talent used to all but guarantee a movie’s success, the process of taking a film’s message to market has become a bit more tricky due to the fragmentation of audiences. Of visitors to movie web sites, 31% to 34% are “light” TV viewers, 28% to 30% claim they don’t listen to the radio, and 59% to 65% have computers in the same room as their TV… which they tend to use while they’re watching.

From an article entitled “Online movie campaigns: Time to see the bigger picture,” the author writes:

The old marketing stalwarts – the poster, trailer and stills – are still as crucial as ever. The key is to create a structured, synergistic campaign that challenges and rewards the audience.

The goal of marketing division at Warner Bros. is to oversee the marketing, advertising, media planning, promotion, publicity, and research of films both domestically and internationally. Some of the traditional marketing tactics include screening trailers in theaters, running television and radio spots, advertising in print via movie posters, billboards, newspapers, and magazines, and building a web presence through dedicated movie web sites, Facebook fan pages, etc. Some of the more recent marketing tactics have run the gamut from worldwide scavenger hunts, flash-mobbing and viral videos to alternate-reality games and iPhone apps.

In part two of my interview with Tony Syslo, Vice President of Marketing Services at Warner Bros. studios, he explains that while movie trailers have always served as the lead marketing piece for an advertising campaign, the marketing channels have changed over time to accommodate the consumer:

Enter: Social Media

According to Sue Kroll, the worldwide director of marketing at Warner Bros., while trailers, TV commercials, and publicity are hugely important, social media provides an increasingly important forum for movie fans to share information, which allows for targeted messaging. For example, to amplify talk about the original “Hangover,” Kroll’s team created a Facebook app that enabled fans to upload photos that put themselves in the movie. One month after the opening, the page had 1.8 million fans. By the time “Hangover 2” rolled around, the page had over 12 million fans. Because of this, the team was able to utilize the page as a platform for debuting material and as such, it became an integral piece of their marketing campaign.

From an article on Mashable.com entitled “How Social Media is Changing the Way Movies are Promoted,” the author writes:

It used to be that you had to go to the theater to see the trailers for the next batch of upcoming films. Then TV shows dedicated to showcasing previews hit the scene. While watching movie previews online has been old-hat for more than a decade, the rise of social media has changed how information gets exposed to fans. Sure, movie studios still send out press releases and have special websites that news sites and blogs can access to get the latest scoop, but more and more studios are taking to Facebook and Twitter to debut their latest trailers.

Because the delivery of a single message has become more complex over time due to the fragmentation of audiences, it is important to have an Integrated Marketing Campaign to tie everything together with one look and one voice across a variety of channels.  The ability for a marketer to efficiently create a mulfi-facted campaign that not just entertains but engages will have a direct impact on bottom line results.

One comment

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