Experiential Marketing and Movie Promotions

The film industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year to promote their movie through advertising. However, with the onslaught of messages that a human brain receives every day, the message is often lost. In the search for more creative and effective means to incite the audience into watching their movie, marketers have moved from advertising to product placement to finally, experiential marketing.

There are two basic reasons as to why this has become a chosen medium for movie marketers. The first is that as opposed to direct advertising which is only audio visual, experiential marketing can involve all the five senses of their audience, making a better impact. Secondly, when a trailer is shown, the audience knows that it is a compilation of selected scenes put together in a way to showcase the film in the best light. An experiential stunt however, gives them the choice to judge the movie’s potential from their own point of view. As an added advantage to the movie makers, these stunts also generate a lot of good publicity, especially digital PR for the film.

An increasing number of movie promoters have realised this and are using this to their advantage. In fact, a lot of experiential marketing agencies have set shop with the aim to specifically promote these brands through guerrilla marketing! Inarguably, the first movie to be promoted this way was The Blair Witch Project in 1994. A very small budget movie, there was no way for anyone to even notice it as it was released alongside Titanic, until a guerrilla marketing plan was devised. Posters of three teenagers lost in the woods were printed claiming that their video tapes were found a year after their disappearance. All of this created so much of hype that even when the actors came ‘alive’ to give interviews, a lot of people did not believe it. This kind of publicity was unprecedented for a movie with such a small budget.

Since then, the cinema industry has used this technique to market many a movie. When the James Bond movie Skyfall was about to be released, the movie makers in association with Coke Zero set up a vending machine which could instruct consumers to run to the vending machine on the other platform within 60 secs to win tickets. The catch, however, was that along the way they faced many obstacles like fruit carts and slippery floors which gave them the feeling of being a superspy themselves! The makers of Snakes On A Plane prank called friends of requesters with the voice-over provided by Samuel Jackson; the makers of Games of Thrones put a giant dragon skull on a beach and The Day after Tomorrow an apocalypse movie put a sinking poster in the middle of the ocean to make it look like the world really was coming to an end. Sometimes, this experience is heightened exponentially through involvement of large masses of audience. Before the release of The Dark Knight the producers circulated a series of clues, made websites and pulled off stunts such that there were actual meetings across the world with thousands of people solving these clues and completely immersing themselves into the world of Batman. Soon after, the campaign became a trending topic on Twitter, Fan clubs were formed on Facebook. Over a million online impressions were created and the movie had a blockbuster opening with all the shows sold out.

So, is Experiential Marketing the best way to promote your movie? While critics cite the example of a movie called Aqua Teen Hunger Force as a disaster (when its guerrilla marketing boxes were mistaken for bombs), it was more of a logistical issue than a marketing one. Statistics generally show that experiential marketing is more productive because of its creativity, unique reach and generation of PR. So gear up Indian movies! We expect to see something exciting from you too.

Source – http://anchalblogger.weebly.com/

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