Social Media Marketing

The movie industry has been looking for ways to keep its products relevant and worthwhile enough to get the consumer to venture to a local theater and pay the rising ticket prices.  In their pursuit of this quest the Hollywood studios has faced numerous difficulties from illegal DVD copying to online piracy. However most efforts to circumvent piracy as of late has been a mostly futile fight. Nevertheless the studios remain adamant on correcting this problem and retaining their profits. One of the more recent successes in this grueling fight against piracy is the use of popular modern digital media or more specifically social media.

“Historically, of course, this makes a lot of sense. Classical Hollywood had the star system and fan magazines. Modern Hollywood has Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones.”

It shouldn’t be much of surprise that the movie industry has embraced the use of social media, when in fact every group, organization, and company has began using it to enhance their customer base. In traditional ways like creating viral campaigns and alternate reality campaigns (The Dark Knight), as well as leveraging social media to connect with fans and promote its products. However the reasons and process differs slightly when it comes to the movie industry beyond using social media to promote their films. More importantly their social media campaigns attempt to create a sense of ownership in fans in relation to their content. They do this through marketing campaigns like Eventful which request a large number of online votes or signatures from fans in order for certain “events” to take place in their area.

For example Paramount’s smash hit Paranormal Activity relied heavily on Facebook in conjunction with Eventful to promote their film. Their goal was to get one million fan requests for the film to enter wide release throughout America. Coincidentally the process created a sense of ownership for fans, which felt not just compelled to rally others to sign up on Eventful but to promote the movie through word of mouth. Nevertheless the film Paranormal Activity not just met its Eventful goal but sold over 150 million! This form of marketing generates a sense of awareness that is not on par with what you can likely get in running radio or TV spots.

Formerly the strategy for marketing these low budget films were to expand its market through word of mouth, press, and publicity. A very effective method; however it’s trumped by the possibilities that social media allow.  Now studios can use the Internet to figure out where an interest in the film initially exists, then expand their market through more traditionally means.

The recent film “Project X” generated buzz on Twitter and Facebook leading up to its release racking in a decent $20.8 Million opening alongside “The Lorax ” which took in over 70 million. But what is interesting about “Project X” is Warner Bros. produced it for only 12 million. Nevertheless the “Project X” marketing campaign TV ads included actual fans remarks and comments on social media sites.

_Jeremy Sam