Saturday, March 31, 2012

'The Hunger Games' Gaming the System

Clips from Daniel Frankel's piece ( on 'The Hunger Games' approach to marketing:

  • To amplify the impact of these campaigns, studios will pay the big social platforms—for Facebook, for example, they’ll often give up more than a doller per “like,” creating an illusion of social media buzz.

  • Lionsgate’s campaign differed from most movie campaigns because it created, well, actual social media buzz. The key: instead of paying for likes, the studio put its resources into creating rich-media elements that far outstrip the ambition of simple games and other movie collateral, such as an interactive tour of the source novel’s “Capital,” which was accessible through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG). The tour wasn’t a movie ad—it was an interactive experience rendered from the book with painstaking detail. 

  • “They simply appreciated the value of the book and fleshed out its world with a massive amount of content that’s designed to live on the web, well beyond what you see in the film itself,” the rival studio marketer said. “They activated the core fan base from day one, fired them up and let them carry the message to their friends, which in turn grew the fan base.” 

I saw very little of the marketing effort but what I did see was pretty cool, and any campaign that gets a video feature at NYT has to be considered a success. THG's interactive site was, hard to deny, impressive -- probably the best I've seen.

Frankel posits THG may have created a new model for movie marketing based on interactive content, tailored sites, widgets and games and such. I can't argue. We may have become inured to standard ads and trailers, and they cost much more than creating your own web destination for fans to explore.

Frankel continues:
  • Promotional costs for a big Hollywood movie typically exceed $100 million. But Lionsgate, a so-called mini-major, coming off a series of bombs, doesn’t have that kind of money. It had to make do with a marketing budget of around $45 million, with a typical allocation of 8 to 10 percent of that going to digital media spending.
That speaks volumes. Really, it's amazing what Lionsgate accomplished with that kind of cash. By contrast, look how bad the campaign for 'John Carter' flopped around, how much more it cost, (and what it accomplished).

If the quality of production of sites like The Capitol Tour is there I think fans, or potential fans, will respond no matter what the genre or who the targeted audience is. I wouldn't be surprised to see this kind of marketing approach become the norm.


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