Marketing at movie theaters

Marketing blogger John Cass is pondering the “lost sales opportunities” from not having DVDs available for purchas as you leave the theater. Let me give John’s sentiments a hearty “Amen!”

The thing about it is that it doesn’t just have to be DVDs, though that’s certainly a large pile of money that’s being left on the table by studios. It could be t-shirts, soundtracks, postcards, business card holders – you name it. I constantly wonder why every movie doesn’t have free postcards of the poster that are given out by the employees as you exit the theater. Someone takes it, puts it up on their cubicle wall or something and all of a sudden they’ve become a marketing proxy for the studio. We’re not talking about high-tech know-how that’s required for doing some of the fancier online things. I’m saying some low-tech postcards distributed by minimum wage teenagers. It doesn’t get much simpler and the ROI has the potential to be tremendous.

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Black Dahlia newsreel

The other day I pointed out a newspaper insert Universal was using to promote The Black Dahlia. Well the retro-advertising keeps coming, this time in the form of a newsreel-esque video containing archival footage from the early part of this century, including that of the murder of Betty Short, who came to be known as the Black Dahlia. The reel ends with an image of the movie’s poster. Very cool.

[via Adrants]

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We live in a democracy

Keith Olberman slaps around Don Rumsfeld and others who would question the patriotism of those with the common sense to question leaders who claim they know better and then go on to demonstrate exactly the opposite. The only one I’m willing to follow with complete faith is God. Everyone else should be subject to as close a bit of scrutiny as the media and citizenry can bring to bear.

The Departed is the sole advertiser on CBS show

Warner Bros. has bought the privilege to be the sole advertiser during the series premiere of “Smith” on CBS as a promotional platform for The Departed. That means only four minutes – two two-minute blocks – of advertising will be embedded within the show. Those two-minute blocks will be used by WB to provide some form of “exclusive look” at the movie.

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Fandango’s fancy new ads

The PointRoll-powered ads now populating online movie ticket service Fandango are every bit as much about the marketing of movies as they are about making ticket purchasing easier. Here’s why, straight from Dan Mohler of Fandango:

Mohler: It’s all about the consumer and making it easier for film fans to get access to the movies they want to see. As the nation’s largest movie ticketing site, with over 14,000 screens wired for online ticketing across the country, Fandango brings its brand equity and majority market share to the table, providing our theater and showtime content.

These special ads offer the most direct way to purchase a movie ticket online, and capture moviegoers at that point at which a moviegoer is most engaged and interested in a property. Advertising becomes a point of sale. The exhibitors and studios will benefit from the speed and ease of ticket execution.

That’s right, studios will benefit every bit as much as exhibitors. If they’re smart (and some are) they’ll make movie purchasing, downloading or just information research as easy as possible for everyone.

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Are big stars enough?

There seems to be a seismic shift underway regarding the role of celebrities in the making and marketing of a variety of things, but specifically films. With people like Tom Cruise getting publicly spanked by a former corporate partner, high-cost comedies with stars like Jim Carrey getting pulled in pre-production and other such incidents, stars are less reliable than they once were. Combine that with the reality that people are making their own entertainment instead of going to the movies and you have a major roadblock in the path most movies get made and subsequently marketed. The uncertainty of box-office results and complex financial arrangements are also causing studios to look for outside partners to help finance a film’s production.

The bottom line is that studios rely to a great extent on the Pavlovian response a certain segment of the audience has to a particular celebrity, especially when it comes to the marketing of the movie. They need to count on some people having a “oh it’s them – I like them” reaction. When celebrities start acting like nutters or appear in a series of so-so films that audience instinct is degraded. That not only affects production but marketing since the studios don’t have as big a hook to hang the film on.

I wrote this piece, called simply “Budget Comparison” a while ago but haven’t known quite what to do with it. It’s basically a call for studios to “think small” when it comes to movie production and marketing, the logic being that there’s more profit to be made by making small films and marketing to that film’s niche than shooting for the stars with a big budget movie that *might* appeal to a large audience. Let me know what you think of it. I think it ties into what I’m trying to say here but sometimes I’m just not sure.

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