Quick Takes: 4/16/10

According to numbers from Bernstein Research, Hollywood studios cut marketing costs by eight percent in 2009 to about $4.39 billion. Much of those cuts are coming through the increased reliance in those campaigns on Facebook and other social media efforts, which cost less than a full-bore advertising campaign. The push for How To Train Your Dragon is held up as an example of a recent campaign that cost a ton of money, only to require shifts in strategy – which are hard and expensive to do when you’re talking about ad buys that are planned well in advance. TV spots aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, though, since they’re still the closest advertising analog to trailers and can show off footage from the movie. Plus, as the old saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying TV time.

How a movie’s paid marketing and earned media publicity efforts differ is used to highlight the differences between marketing and public relations.

One of the panels at the first Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival is titled “Classic Movie Marketing” and is sure to be pretty interesting. Hopefully someone writes a recap of that session.

Anne Thompson reprints a reaction from SXSW from Zipline Entertainment’s Marian Koltai-Levine, who offers her impression that generating word-of-mouth and putting on a good show are the key tactics for marketing an independent movie. There’s no way these movies can compete on the scale of the huge campaigns mounted by the major studios so it’s necessary then for those outside that system to grasp the myriad opportunities available to them to get people talking about the movie if they want to get it seen. Can’t say as I disagree and this runs pretty close to what I was talking about the other day in how content on a consistently fresh website can be the winning factor for smaller movies who want to break through the clutter.

The challenges, opportunities and results in the social media campaign run for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are examined by Aliza Sherman at WebWorkerDaily. While the focus is on a “Blog Hunt” that was run online I think there was also a lot of good, solid stuff that went in to generating buzz around the movie in the press and among people on social networks.

Sony Pictures is among the companies who were given first access to Twitter’s newly launched Promoted Tweets ad system. Details on what the studio did are still few but as soon as those are available I’ll certainly be talking about them.

The “Summer Movie Preview” issue of Entertainment Weekly features a Microsoft-powered barcode that, when snapped with your smartphone, loads a YouTube page with 20 trailers to some of those summer movies. That’s cool and all, but what’s next? That seems like an awful lot of effort to put in to what then turns in to a dead end for consumers, who aren’t then presented with any action to take based on what they see. In other words, it seems like a high-tech version of traditional advertising, which is all about response rates and not at all about generating consumer actions.


An interview the Trib’s Eric Zorn conducts with a speaker at one of the tea party speakers in Chicago yesterday shows why this movement is so dangerous. In his responses, the interviewee repeatedly says that activists don’t know exactly what they want fixed, they just “instinctively” or “intuitively” know that things aren’t right and there has to be a better way to run a government.

We’re in a period of extremely dangerous anti-intellectualism. It doesn’t matter how much people who know what they’re talking about explain the reality of the situation to ordinary folks – if it doesn’t jive with what they feel intuitively regardless of their background it’s got to be wrong and just another example of the elite class trying to be better than everyone else.

Time was we respected experts and those who had made a career – or lifetime – out of studying a subject and relied on their opinions and experience to make good decisions. Now, though, these people are being pursued with torches like they’re carrying the damn plague.