Instagram’s New Business Tools Roll Out

New from me on PNConnect:

The News: Facebook has made official what has been rumored for a few weeks now and introduced new and improved tools for businesses using the photo/video-sharing network. Business profiles will allow for better identification of a brand’s profile as well as provide contact information the audience can use to get in touch. Meanwhile “Instights” will give network managers a better look at how posts are performing as well as audience demographics and more. Finally, brands will have the ability to turn a well-performing or other post into an ad without leaving the app.

Source: Instagram Introduces Business Dashboards « PNConnect | Digital Marketing Services from Porter Novelli

Movie Marketing Madness: Me Before You


me_before_youWant to get Movie Marketing Madness via email? Sign up here. Then connect with MMM on Twitter and Facebook.

The idea that two people fall in love because they’ve been put together by some random circumstance has been the basis of countless books, movies and more. It’s not enough to have some coincidental meet-cute, sometimes the story says that because two people have been thrown together in a long car ride, in a workplace situation or some other happenstance they will fall in love almost out of the necessity of proximity – they’re the only other human being within visual range – and not out of mutual attraction. Of course it’s not played as “Well, she/he is good enough,” it’s that these two were soulmates all along, it just took this one little nudge to bring them together.

Such is the case in Me Before You. The movie, based on the best-selling book, tells the story of Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy young man who became paralyzed after a motorcycle accident years ago. His parents hire him a caretaker in the form of Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke), a young woman who’s at a crossroads in her own life, having lost her previous job and hit the end of a relationship with her boyfriend. Her positive spirit and attitude help lift him from a profound depression and, of course, the two wind up falling in love.

The Posters

The poster knows exactly what it’s doing and so puts colorful, soft-focus images of Clarke and Claflin, the two of them in some form of romantic embrace, right there in the middle. Other than their names, the title treatment and the reminder that it’s based on a New York Times bestselling book there’s nothing else going on with the design. It looks tailor made not so much for a theater’s poster display but for use on the paperback version of the book as it’s displayed at airport kiosks.

The Trailers

The first trailer is rather charming and had most of Film Twitter holding back the tears. We meet Louisa as she’s at an employment agency trying to find a job after striking out at several previous ones. Eventually she signs on as a caregiver to a paralyzed man who, it turns out, is seemingly immune to her bubbly positive personality. But eventually he warms to her and they form a bond and the two go out to a concert. He falls sick, though, and is taken to the hospital. The rest of the trailer is devoted to how the two of them are nurturing their budding romance through attending weddings, going out on boats and more.

If this is your kind of movie then I can certainly see how this is going to hit you right in the feels. You’ve got British charm and understatement combined with a story about love involving a disabled man. It’s like it’s been engineered to make people weep and love it so much.

The second trailer skips almost all the setup of how the main characters and simply presents them in a variety of extended situations. There are a few little moments of plot explanation here and there but it’s mostly about a couple of romantic bonding moments between the two main characters. So it’s less a trailer and more a collection of extended scenes.

I can’t say it doesn’t work despite its different approach. It’s just that it seems to know there’s no other way to sell the story and instead just focuses on selling the romance between Clarke and Traynor.

Online and Social

When you load the movie’s official website there’s some sort of animated bee that flies around the page. Not sure if that’s something from the story or just an idea the site designers had, but it’s there and keeps popping up as you visit different parts of the site.

Open up the menu in the left hand corner and the first section of content you see is “Videos” where you can watch the two trailers and the music video for the song from X Ambassadors.

me before you pic 1

There are a lot of stills from the movie in “Photos.” There’s a pretty good synopsis of the movie in “The Story.”

“Live Boldly” takes you all the Tumblr posts featuring photos and videos, with some of the photos including quotes from fans talking about how much they love the movie or are looking forward to it.

You can upload a photo and create a moment in the “Me Before You Project” that adds some hearts and flowers animation to that photo which you can then share again on social channels.

Links to the “Soundtrack” and “Tickets and Showtimes” are next. Finally there’s the “Poster Creator” that lets you upload your own picture and put your self in the positions of either Lou or Will on the one-sheet.

There are a lot of photos that we saw on the site along with videos and other promotional updates on the movie’s Facebook page, which also features a lot of content like red carpet coverage and more that was sponsored by Marie Claire. Same kind of content is on Twitter and Instagram.

While the Pinterest profile has a URL that clearly identifies it as being part of the movie’s online presence it’s positioned as coming from Lou Clark. So it’s all things from her bedroom, pinned ideas for trips she wants to take with Will and so on. As usual, I don’t so much have a problem with the idea of expanding the character like this, it’s that it’s inconsistent, presenting them as “My” items from Lou’s perspective but with movie branding and information all over the place.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

TV spots like this one were run that play like the first trailer, with lots of shots of Will and Lou making soft, hazy eyes at each other as they fall in love, him saying wonderfully romantic things to her and her helping him out.

There were plenty of online ads run that featured the key art that encouraged people to visit the website or buy tickets immediately.

Aside from the Marie Claire sponsorship of various things on social channels there weren’t any promotional partners that were mentioned or called out.

Media and Publicity

There was an in-depth story about Moyes, the author of the source novel and the screenwriter of this script, that covered the sometimes rocky path the story took the big screen, how she wanted it to hit all the emotional notes of the book and more. And speaking of the book, the stars had a little fun freaking out over the new edition that features the key art with their faces. Clarke later answered fan questions via a Twitter chat.

me before you pic 2

Claflin talked about the emotional component of playing a disabled man in such a tearjerker of a movie.

Not everyone was thrilled, with disability activists and others taking issue with both the movie and the book’s portrayal of a disabled person.


This is one of those situations where you certainly can’t say the studio doesn’t know what demographic it’s going after. Everything about the campaign either implicitly or overtly calls it out as the movie you should go see if you want a good cry. Whether it’s the romance angle or the element about Will’s disability and how his spirit is buoyed by Lou’s presence outside of that, it’s sold as a movie that’s been designed and assembled by specialists expressly for the purpose of making women cry over how touching it is.

There’s really not much more to say. Either the elements of the campaign are doing that on their own – the trailers and posters would fall into that category – or things like the images online are telling you that it will happen and you should prepare yourself. For some people that message is going to work really well and for others it won’t.

Voce Nation Podcast with Jeremy Kaplan

Another new episode of the Voce Nation Podcast is up:

This week we welcomed Jeremy Kaplan, Editor-in-Chief of Digital Trends to the Voce Nation Podcast. Jeremy talked about how the Digital Trends team manages content production, what he sees in the future of distributed media and much more. Watch the whole conversation below.

Source: Voce Nation Podcast Ep. 8: Special Guest Jeremy Kaplan of Digital Trends « Voce Communications

Movie Marketing Madness Recap: 5/27/16 New Releases

The Do-Over

the do over pic 2

God save me I kind of like this campaign. My tolerance for Sandler, as I’ve noted before, is pretty low on a regular basis but this one looks kind of not terrible. Yes, some of Sandler’s regular ticks are on display but that’s part of what he’s selling. To a sizable chunk of the audience that’s what the appeal is going to be: Whatever the story is, they like seeing Sandler’s shtick in the midst of it. And it’s hard not to view the campaign and think that the star basically got Netflix to pay for him and his buddy Spade to go on vacation

X-Men: Apocalypse


The movie as a whole doesn’t look like a lot of fun, which is a big shift from both the first X-Men in 2000 and even 2011’s First Class, which at least had a bouncy kind of rhythm to it. Instead, with the exception of that one light moment with Quicksilver talking about his dad being Magneto, this looks super-serious, with the stakes being incredibly high and lots of speeches about responsibility and duty to save the world. The X franchise has never been a ton of laughs (Deadpool being the notable exception) but this kicks that up a notch by selling a story that might be a tough slog with few lighter moments.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

alice looking glass pic 2

There’s some cool stuff here but it’s not clear at all what movie it is that’s being sold here. At times it presents a story that has Alice being just as wide-eyed as she was in the first movie, at other times she’s a seasoned leader who’s ready for any and all threats. At times it’s a dark, almost dystopian story at other times it’s bright and funny and full of the same amusing characters we met before. That kind of unclear attitude about what it is that’s being presented the audience is, unfortunately, seen throughout the campaign.

Social Media and News Consumption

New from me on PNConnect:

A new study from Pew Research Center shows 62% of U.S. adults get their news from social media sites, with 18% doing so on the reg. The biggest site used for news was Reddit, followed by Facebook and Twitter, with a big fall-off after Twitter to sites like Tumblr and Instagram, though that number specifically looks at existing users of those sites. On sites like Instagram and even Facebook the majority of people weren’t going there looking for news but happen upon it while they’re there doing other things.

Most interesting is that the majority of users – 64% – get their news from just one site. And just 26% get their news from two sites. Also of note is how news consumption trends for social sites is at least along the same lines as overall usage of those networks. Finally, the additional sources like TV, radio and newspapers people use vary greatly, with print newspapers unsurprisingly being the least-used additional resource.

Source: Pew: People Use Social Media To Get News « PNConnect | Digital Marketing Services from Porter Novelli

pew social media news usage

Picking Up The Spare: Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and More


The Do-Over

  • Netflix released one final trailer that focuses much more on the latter part of the story, after the two guys have assumed new identities. This came out like three hours after I published my column. smh.
  • Also immediately after publishing the column I started noticing full motion banner ads promoting the movie and pushing people to Netflix.


  • It seems a handful of mentions of the chain within the movie spurred TGI Friday’s to go ahead and line up an actual promotional relationship, debuting a few movie-themed cocktails.
  • This New York Times op-ed seems indicative of a trend in the press, which is to put Deadpool in its place in the super hero genre and point out how it’s not only an exception to the rule – it wasn’t endlessly teased over the last six years and so isn’t beholden to all kinds of mythology – but also the best example of pairing a star with a role in these films yet.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Love and Friendship

  • Kate Beckinsale talked about what it is that attracted her to the role, including doing something she hasn’t been widely known for, and how she wasn’t even aware it was based on a Jane Austen novel when she got the script.

MMM Flashback Friday: Brewster’s Millions

Brewsters_millionsRecently, Mental Floss published this feature highlighting 10 things we may not have known about the Richard Pryor-starring Brewster’s Millions. It was an alright list with a few interesting bits of trivia but it got me thinking about how much I’d watched this movie when I was younger as it was one of those that was on cable all the time. The story is simple and the movie is a remake of other versions: Montgomery Brewster (Pryor) finds out he had a relative he’d never heard of who was ridiculously wealthy. That relative informs Brewster he stands to inherit $300m, but only if he can spend $30m in 30 days and come away from it with no tangible assets. So no houses, no flashy cars: no nothing. Oh, and he can’t tell anyone what he’s doing. So with the help of his friend and minor league baseball teammate Spike (John Candy), he sets out to blow a lot of money in a mysterious manner.

“You don’t have to be crazy to blow 30 million dollars in 30 days. But it helps.” That’s the value proposition on the movie’s poster, which positions Pryor as he’s bursting up through a sea of cash. Candy is positioned above him, lounging and holding a wad of bills. Pryor looks worried and a bit harried while Candy looks like he’s having the time of his life. Pryor’s name appears above the title treatment and below the title we’re told this is “An American excess story.”

All that combines to tell the audience what the basic outline of the movie is, that Pryor’s character has to spend a lot of money quickly. You’ve got the money shown and the copy is pretty good, though the “…excess..” bit makes it sound like he’s an eccentric millionaire on some sort of crazy binge. But what it does show clearly is just what a huge star Pryor was at the time. His name on the poster is as big as the title treatment, making it clear that he’s the star and the title character. I can’t help but think, quite frankly, that putting a black man as the sole above-the-title lead is something that wouldn’t happen today. At least not in anything that wasn’t a movie specifically aimed at an African-American audience. instead this is a mainstream release where the white guy on the poster and in the movie isn’t even mentioned in the credit block.

For the trailer, we’re introduced to Montgomery Brewster and his dying relative, who leaves him all kinds of money and we see the caveats and conditions that are put on that inheritance. Spike is super-excited and Brewster immediately starts throwing money around, hiring a personal photographer and driver, renting a penthouse and more. We see the people around him react like he’s going crazy with the way he’s spending his money. There’s a fun moment where Brewster curses and it’s bleeped out since apparently the line was good to leave out of the trailer and yeah, it works. Finally, we get the same “An American excess story” at the end that was on the poster.

It’s a fun trailer that sells the movie as a lighthearted romp around the city with someone who’s doing something crazy in an effort to get an even bigger prize. Again, Pryor is clearly the star here and he’s front-and-center in the trailer. Candy this time at least gets name-dropped, a step above his place on the poster, but that’s about it. It’s a short trailer but conveys the plot and the value proposition clearly and concisely without spoiling almost anything from the back half the movie, including how (as in Trading Places) there are self-interested bankers who manage the situation who are actively working against Brewster and his plan.

This is the kind of movie that doesn’t seem to be made very much anymore and when it is – the nearest example I can think of is Chris Rock’s recent Top Five – it’s not very successful. The campaign plays up Pryor’s personality and persona and presents the movie as being a light, fluffy piece of entertainment starring one of the biggest comedians at the time.

Nuzzel’s Newsletters Come With a Directory

Hopefully you’re already subscribing to my TinyLetter newsletter, which lets you get Movie Marketing Madness columns via email about 90 minutes before they’re up here on the site. And if you’re not already you can sign up here to get PNConnect Weekly Reading, our regular roundup of important social media and content marketing news.

Now too you can sign up to get my Nuzzel-powered newsletter here. If you’re not familiar with Nuzzel, it’s a great tool to show you what kinds of stories, and at what frequency, the people you follow on Twitter are talking about. So via the mobile app you can get alerts when a certain threshold of your friends have shared a specific story. The best part about that is that because Twitter is a fast-moving network you can miss a lot of news and updates if you’re doing anything else or looking away from your computer or phone for any length of time. Nuzzel is basically a “Make sure you saw this because a lot of people are talking about it” service, which is super-useful.

So the newsletter is the best of my network, not my own stuff. It’s very much an example of putting other people first and linking to the things you, in this case I, don’t do best. There are opportunities to add stuff that hasn’t made it into the Nuzzel system but I’m choosing not to do that since, quite frankly, that’s not what I want to do.


One of the things I like most about Nuzzel’s new email newsletter service is that it comes with a directory of others who are similarly producing their own newsletters. Right now there are only “Featured” and “Top” sections to view other newsletters but I’d love to see the company broaden that a bit to view any and all newsletters from those I’m following on Twitter, give people the options to categorize them and then view by that category and so on.

It’s functionality I’ve long wanted from TinyLetter. They have a ton of newsletters but discovery is non-existent. With a treasure trove like that everyone would benefit from some social network-like features that let people browse by category, view past issues and so on.

For now, if you’re interested in such things, you can find my Nuzzel newsletter here and you can give it a try.

Twitter, Google Maps and More in PNConnect Weekly Reading

The latest edition of PNConnect Weekly Reading is up on the PNConnect Blog:

Twitter Confirms Changes to Character Count Restrictions

Twitter has confirmed earlier reports that media will no longer eat into character counts, giving users a clean 140 characters to work with. Notable is that the post announcing these changes does not mention links.

Promoted Pins: Get Ready for Google Maps Ads

Google has announced that they are bringing ads to your Google Maps experience. As our online and offline lines continue to merge, marketed content on mobile devices becomes an ever more valuable tool for brands.

Source: PNConnect Weekly Reading 5/26/16: I’m Tellin’ Y’all It’s a Sabotage « PNConnect | Digital Marketing Services from Porter Novelli

Movie Marketing Madness: Alice Through The Looking Glass

alice looking glass poster 1Want to get Movie Marketing Madness via email? Sign up here. Then connect with MMM on Twitter and Facebook.

“The same but different” is a common credo for sequels. The idea is to give the audiences something familiar so as not to scare them that they might be presented with new ideas but also to present them with something new, a new story featuring the characters they already know. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s a well that’s often drawn from, particularly in these days of franchises being priorities to studios. They need to bring in audiences who want to revisit familiar themes but who need a guaranteed good time at the theater, not necessarily a movie that’s going to challenge them and make them think because that’s hard.

So we have Alice Through The Looking Glass. The movie is a sequel to 2010’s Tim Burton-directed Alice in Wonderland and brings back Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska as Alice and more from the first movie. Alice must return to Wonderland to save it from being destroyed by The Lord of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), who wants to turn it into a wasteland. Not only that but she must stop the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) from succeeding in her plot to return to the throne. So the idea is simple in that, like with the first movie, it gets Alice into Wonderland, gives her something only she can accomplish for whatever reason and aligns her with or pits her against a group of colorful characters.

The Posters

The first bit of marketing that was released – indeed this may have been the official announcement that the movie was actually happening – was a couple of posters shown off at Disney’s 2015 D23 expo. One showed Alice and the other the Mad Hatter, each dancing merrily on a lake in the distance. That distance allowed the designers to show the characters without actually needing to get anyone in costume, which was likely essential this far out from the movie.

A bit after that a series of five character posters were released that featured Alice, the Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Queen and Time. All were placed in front of some wibbly-wobbly background and all were holding some sort of glowing ball that presumably is instrumental to the movie’s story. These are neat and totally expected given the costumes and production but don’t really hit any original notes. Later on there were character one-sheets for Absalom and The Tweedles as well, just so they didn’t feel left out.

The next poster released brought most, if not all, the major cast together in a very colorful one-sheet that arrayed them all around the titular looking glass. So we get a good look at most of the characters, Depp’s Mad Hatter at the center, with clocks strewn about around them. It’s bright and certainly makes a statement, trying to sell the manic energy of the movie more than anything else.


The Trailers

We open in the first trailer – which was teased by the release of four teaser videos in the days leading up to its debut – by hearing it’s been a long time since Alice was in Wonderland and things have fallen into neglect in her absence. So we get some shots of Wonderland in ruins and looking very desolate. Alice seeks an audience with Time since turning back time is the solution to the problems they face. But things don’t go well. We meet the Hatter and the Red Queen and get shots of the rest of the supporting characters as well.

It’s not bad and certainly makes it clear that the production value isn’t being sacrificed in the sequel. Only the bare threads of the plot are hinted at, but that’s alright since this is just about making sure people know the movie is coming out. Critics weren’t thrilled with Depp’s antics but audiences were and he’s on full display here to make it clear he’s just as big a part of this movie as he was the first one.

The second trailer starts off with Alice being diagnosed as hysterical in a hospital because of the tales of her adventures. She returns to Wonderland to find things aren’t doing well, including how the Hatter is sick. She’s pitted against Time himself to restore her friend and save the residents of Wonderland.

It looks fun and bright and visually popping but that’s about it. Only the barest outline of a story is on display here as the movie’s being sold almost entirely on the appeal of its spectacle and little else.

Online and Social

A big recreation of the key art greets you at the top of the movie’s official website, one that isn’t full-motion so much as it pulses like a heartbeat, with a “Get Tickets” button at the bottom.

There’s actually not much on the site. Tim Burton provides an introduction encouraging people to see the movie in IMAX to what seems to be an exclusive trailer. Below that are more videos, including interviews with the cast, featurettes and so on.


You can view and download the character banner and some of the posters and other images in a scrolling section below that. Finally, there are links to more Alice-related content from Disney, including tips on painting your fingernails and more.

The movie’s Facebook page has promotional videos, photos from premieres and other events and other updates counting down to release. There was no Twitter page just for the movie so it had to hitch along on Disney Studios’ Twitter, where they were using #ThroughTheLookingGlass for Alice-specific posts.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

The paid portion of the campaign kicked off with a 30-second spot that debuted during the recent Super Bowl 50. The spot received lots of press because it’s narrated by the late Alan Rickman. Outside of that it plays a lot like the first trailer, explaining that Alice’s prolonged absence has not been good for Wonderland and its residents.

An extended TV spot debuted during the Grammys broadcast earlier this year. This spot features lots of plot…or at least lots of setup for the plot. So we don’t get the same kind of “you’ve been away too long” framing that we’ve seen earlier. Instead it’s more about how everyone is looking for Alice and wants to know where she is and when she will be arriving.

It’s trippy and colorful, two things that are underlined by Pink’s cover of “White Rabbit” that plays over the footage. Future TV spots would hit many of the same story beats, with changes around the edges but all basically setting up Alice’s return and the troubles she finds when she’s back in Wonderland. Disney asked “Where does the time go?” in a TV spot that was timed to Daylight Savings Time, a nice tie-in that helped the studio show off some more of the movie.

In terms of promotional partners, the only one there was information on was Urban Decay, which created a line of cosmetics and makeup inspired by the movie. Lots of movie products were shilled on HSN in the days leading up to the movie

There were lots of online ads run, including promoted posts on Twitter and Facebook that encouraged people to watch a new video, buy tickets or take some other action.

Media and Publicity

Aside from the press generated by the release of marketing materials and clips, some of the first press was a Q&A with Bonham-Carter, who talked about the unique challenges of shooting the movie, interacting with her costars on the set and more.

Depp surprised visitors to Disneyland by appearing virtually on a digital billboard in character, interacting with visitors and generally freaking people out.

Director James Bobin talked a bit about taking the reins of the franchise from Tim Burton, what attracted him to the project, making the transition from Muppets and Ali G movies to effects-heavy fairy tales and more.

alice looking glass pic 2

Hero Complex Gallery in L.A. put together an exclusive collection of artwork inspired by the timeless story and its many incarnations, including this and the previous movie.

The whole cast and crew talked about making the movie, Alice’s evolution between the two stories and more at the official premiere.


There’s some cool stuff here but it’s not clear at all what movie it is that’s being sold here. At times it presents a story that has Alice being just as wide-eyed as she was in the first movie, at other times she’s a seasoned leader who’s ready for any and all threats. At times it’s a dark, almost dystopian story at other times it’s bright and funny and full of the same amusing characters we met before. That kind of unclear attitude about what it is that’s being presented the audience is, unfortunately, seen throughout the campaign.

But what is consistent is the trippy sense that permeates the marketing. If the first one was sold as being a stoner’s dream story this one is sold as the stoners becoming militant and actually trying to solve a problem. This isn’t the drop-acid and hope for the best story, it’s the one where the hippies got wise and joined the ROTC and are now looking for ways to bring in their former fellow travelers. It’s a fever dream of CGI sets, with characters there just to provide the action against the luscious backdrops.