it has been many moons since Mediation bemoaned Michael Bay's tirade against Paramount's marketing for the dire Transformers 2. you can relive the magic of those crazy days here, but the point of the post was that advertising can't turn a bad product into a good one…
we all have instant access to what the world knows. we can research, reveal and review products and services in a second. no one takes a punt on anything anymore – why would you when everything has been reviewed and rated by the crowd… we don't rely on the promise of a glitzed up poster any more.
I made the point that some of the best marketing stories emerge when communications are a natural extension of product. and that no one knows this better than movies… Transmedia storytelling via the The Matrix, Cloverfield's Mystery Box marketing, The Dark Knight's Vote Harvey Dent ARG to name a few.
the last few weeks have continued the theme of the best of marketing initiatives emerging from Hollywood. the above is for Universal's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, an adaptation of the comic book series. the whole marketing effort is pretty much text book. there's an incredibly immersive iTrailer (you can put an i in front of anything these days) above, leading to an awesome website which – via its socialrama – is social to the extreme and which actively encourages remixing of the marketing material to propagate content and word of mouth.
other recent marketing efforts have continued the innovative theme… this glorious 'Call To Arms' trailer for The Expendables directly takes on the competition that is Julia Roberts' Eat, Pray, Love …
the trailer observes that the likes of Twilight, Sex and the City and now Eat, Pray, Love, are taking over the cinema, and that this is men's last collective chance to take cinema back. it makes the delightfully honest observation that the place to see The Expendables isn't "off your torrents but in a f***ing theatre (where violence belongs) …if this loses to Eat, Pray, Love you don't deserve to be a man" – in the spirit of the movie, no punches pulled then.
Hollywood seem to be learning fast. illegal file sharing and the rise of better-than-cinema home entertainment (where you can enjoy movies sans other people talking and on a sofa) continue to threaten box-office revenues. Hollywood need to innovate to keep people in cinemas.
but there's a further interesting angle on all of the above examples of Hollywood entertainment… in that they all start to slash the required marketing budget. they all take advantage of the studios' owned and – predominantly via activation in social networks – earned media.
it's not unusual for a $150m movie to have a marketing budget of $100m+ … anything that the studios take off their marketing budget goes straight back to the bottom line. movies also have the double advantage of being content rich and very topical, there's a new and shininess which adds to their social appeal.
movie marketing is increasingly getting that marketing isn't about ensuring that as many of the target audience as possible are aware of a movie, rather its about creating value for enough of the right people and encouraging them to propagate your message. the implicit promise… that the product you buy will live up to the marketing, is made explicit by marketing that adds value to a movie's audience before they've ever entered the cinema.
slash your marketing budget via content and sociability that adds value to potential customers. sounds so easy that anyone could do it right? so why aren't you?