Marketing the Indie Film"Good marketers tell a story." Seth Godin
It wasn't long ago that I had blogged about the importance of marketing the Indie Film. I knew that marketing began at the very start of the film, what I wasn't entirely sure about, however, was what sort of tactics the studios were using to let people know about their new film in the making. After some research on the marketing techniques used, I came to realise that clever marketing begins with the accumulation of 'fans'. For, it is the 'fans' that become an audience. A film cannot be successful without an audience and the marketing must revolve around this one simple fact.
The techniques that the studios use, mainly revolve around the utilisation social media tools, and whilst this is certainly accessible and free to everyone, the question still begs on how it can be used cleverly, interestingly and uniquely to formulate a marketing plan that is going to accumulate fans. Keeping in mind that without fans there is no audience. After all that is why we make films, so that audiences can view them. The following is from a short excerpt of a marketing workshop booklet I had devised.
Following on, I want to explore two successful films, that owe a lot of their success to the marketing that was utilised. Paranormal Activity and Dead Pool.
Paranormal Activity, written and directed by Oren Peli, was developed because of some noises that his girlfriend had heard in their home. From this concept he invested approximately $10,000 or as some reports have it, $15,000, cast two first time actors and developed the script. It took him a year to edit the film after which he entered it in ‘Screamfest’, a small LA festival for homemade horror. Apparently the response was phenomenal, the audiences crouched into themselves out of fear. He knew then that he was on a winner. It went on to make $100 million in the US. At the onset though, people began to blog about it. Paramount studios picked it up and this is where, I believe, history is made, and only because of the clever marketing campaign that they employed with this film.
The Online department at Paramount studios gave the fans an opportunity to bring the film to their local cinema by clicking a ‘Demand it’ button both on Facebook and the film’s own website. Very interesting indeed as it provided the distributors and exhibitors an opportunity to see exactly how interested audiences were and which areas and cinemas they wanted to see the film. In addition a ‘Tweet Your scream’ campaign was started, encouraging fans and audiences to relay footage of their fear/screams whilst watching the film. Enormous hype, clever marketing, and not really an enormous amount of money to execute it.
Dead Pool-The Superhero that appeared in Wolverine; in essence a new superhero. The question begs on how the studios were going to create a fan base for him. Keeping in mind that fans equate to audiences. 20th Century Fox eventually secured the rights to the film and began marketing it. The film cost 58 million to make and made 780 million worldwide. The film is definitely funny, has great CGI, and it is quite unique in terms of what you may expect of a Marvel Superhero. But, to be as successful as it was, meant that the marketing was creative to say the least. Dead Pool Marketing used a combination of traditional media, such as billboards and ads, television talks, but took it to the next level by incorporating some very clever on - line marketing. Dead Pool had a Tinder profile, while Tinder is used primarily to hook up with people, Tinder was used by Dead Pool marketing to get fans to hook up with him. By the sheer fact that fans had the ability to swipe right or left meant that they became interactive in the most simplest, cost effective way known. Dead Pool was Pansexual and this generated a lot of interest.
Dead Pool marketing also created a new Emoji. Red faces that could be used on various apps and sites. Coupled with this, the marketing department focused on the absurd and on what it means to be surprised. One interviewer was speaking to Ryan Reynolds in Hollywood, remotely, and Dead Pool walks into the studio and whacks the interviewer off his seat. Unbeknown to him of course. Even as early as a year before the film was released, fans across the world were fed Dead Pool in some way or another.
A marketing strategy must begin at the onset of the film in pre production. The Social Media tools should all be explored and thought about, preferably with a marketing producer. Once this occurs the campaign can be as original and creative as need be to accumulate the fans. It all sounds quite simple, and it can be, provided of course that the marketing itself, in the words of Seth Godin, will also tell a story. By the way, the new fans will love this.