Movie Marketing Playbook

Reading through my RSS feed of Indiewire, I came across this article about the marketability to different age groups.  The article isn’t all that suprising, everyone already knows that most movie studio executives are very cut and dry about the movies they pick up and how to market them. A particular line of it provides a general synopsis of the value in the playbook: No one sets out to make a movie without a particular audience in mind. One line of the playbook rings suprisingly true in a time of social media cravings and short attention spans: films no longer have time to find their audience; that audience has to be captured well in advance.

The article details the marketing drive that has a huge impact on the content of the film. It mentions why few films are made for certain age groups. Seeing the article’s title, most would brush it off as insignificant but it has some suprising statements.

Recent examples of that go off this guide could include the January openings of this year. The Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy Ride Along, with it’s humor filled action scenes and witty dialogue, went on to make $41 million in it’s opening weekend against a budget of $25 million. The film targeted the  18-30 demographic looking for a mindless comedy to gravitate to. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit failed in attracting much of the younger demographic but got a suprising turnout with viewers over age 50. Jack Ryan had what many older viewers liked: action, classic genres and men being adventurous. Ride Along targeted much of the younger generation with it’s mindless humor and comedic tone.

Movies are more manufactured than most outside the industry imagine. It’s time to take a closer look.

Social Media Marketing with Movies

Ramping up exposure of movie character Ron Burgundy, everyone from movie insiders to general audiences are seeing how Anchorman 2’s elaborate social media marketing plan is panning out.

2013 Paramount Pictures Inc.
Image by Paramount Pictures via

“It’s something that has never been done before for movies.” This is the usual phrase chimed over and over when glancing through the several articles pertaining to Anchorman 2’s social media marketing plan. It’s something that’s been done before, just never at a massively large scale like it was with Anchorman 2.

On December 4, Emerson College temporarily named their journalism department the Ron Burgundy School of Communication. On November 30, Ron Burgundy co-anchored Bismarck’s KXMB-TV evening news.

Rare for a mainstream big budget movie, the marketing team behind the movie has seemed to embrace the idea of user generated content. The content created by fans has been used to further the brand of Ron Burgundy.

Many people are quick to analyze what success is coming out of the movie’s marketing plan. GIFs are starting to be looked at as an effective tool in selling what a movie is about. Things like fan constructed GIFs are able to provide small tidbits and one-liners that give a sample of what the movie has to offer. Others point to the several cross-promotional things as the reason the movie will be successful (Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy ice cream flavor, Ron Burgundy Dodge Durango ads).

Taking a step back, it can be noticed there is no one thing that drove people to go see Anchorman 2. It was a combination of factors. Not many expensive (and often skipped over with DVR) TV ads and talk show visits were needed. User-generated content like GIFs and fan submitted photos were encouraged by the movie’s marketing team. Free or low-cost tools like Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube videos and contests were used to ramp up the brand of Ron Burgundy.

Director Adam McKay mentioned in an Entertainment Weekly piece that the super stacked Burgundy appearances were worth around $20 million in free publicity.

Whether the cross promotion, appearances, and various events paid off is up for debate. Anchorman 2 went on to make 40 million over its five days at the box office (Weds. through Sunday). Over the actual three-day weekend however, it made 26.8 million. The original Anchorman opened up in July 2004 to 28 million.

Despite any negative predictions, Anchorman 2 is expected to fare well and more than double its production budget of $50 million.