Viral, Multiplatform Ad Campaigns Rule Hollywood

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With the advent of Oscar season upon us, the spotlight shines even brighter on the entertainers and studios in Hollywood. And while much the “for your consideration” marketing efforts are centered around actors, writers and directors, the brilliance of the advertising folks in Tinseltown is all but certain to get lost in the shuffle.

Masters of the multiplatform campaign, there is much to be learned from the movie marketing mavens. From promoted tweets to custom photo apps to viral videos, the good folks in Hollywood know a thing or two about running an integrated marketing campaign.

Using various channels and media to reach a prospective customer is critical when it comes to promoting a film. Not only are Hollywood marketers charged with selling consumers on a $8 movie ticket, but they’ve got to convince these same people to hand over two to three hours of their prime, usually weekend, time.

With the rise of online piracy, the film industry’s annual ticket sales have been on a downward trend for the past decade. Yet, the silver screen has managed to stay afloat because of the very thing that undermined it in the first place: the Internet. Mashable

Blogs and websites like Ain’t It Cool NewsCinema Blend and Deadline allow the discussion of movies and films to go well beyond the Living section in your local paper. What other industry can have its 30-second television spots broken down frame-by-frame by rabid fans hoping for just a glimpse of an upcoming release?

The blogs and their discussion forums beget more conversation, anticipation and buzz which in turn fosters more creative and memorable promotional campaigns from Hollywood. Movie marketing has become so much of an art in and of itself that some critics argue that actual filmmaking has taken a backseat to film promotion.

The problem with film marketing – and I do believe it is a problem — is that it has become so important, so vital to the business of film distribution, key in fact to gaining any return on investment in the film business, that filmmaking trails behind film marketing in importance. – Stephanie Allen, Sundance.org

Allen, former Co-Executive VP of Marketing at Fox Searchlight, explains how Hollywood advertising materials are meticulously crafted, going through test after test, looking to “break through media message clutter in order to attract enough attention to any one movie for the public to even be aware that movie is coming out in the theater.”

So am I feeding the monster simply by writing a post saluting these efforts? Perhaps, but it’s hard not to recognize great creative efforts like the above clip hyping Prometheus, 7-Eleven transforming into the Kwik-E Mart for The Simpsons film in 2007 and The Dark Knight Rise‘s complex viral marketing campaign in 2012.

If you’re looking for more inspiration on creativity and campaigns spanning various channels, I’d implore you to check out Adweek’s tremendous salute to some of the best recent movie campaigns. Do you have a favorite film-related viral video or promotional piece? Post a link below and I’ll consider it for my follow-up Movie Marketing Oscars post.

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