Sharing a few stories that have popped recently regarding movie marketing that deserve more attention than I have to give them.
If I Wanted to Read, I’d Pick Up a Book
There certainly is a trend toward long, full-sentence movie titles, particularly in the indie world. Of the two theories offered at Quartz I’m more inclined toward the “differentiating themselves from the simplicity of franchise titles” explanation and don’t include ridiculously drawn-out subtitles as part of the trend.
Because branding is so important in those franchises I think indie film producers are just kind of enjoying not being beholden to those constraints and want to offer something memorable to the audience. That’s in addition to the reality that many of them are based on previously-published material and want to retain that audience recognition, which is its own form of branding, so disregard what I just said.
This Trailer Has Been Submitted For Your – YOUR – Consideration
The question of how effective custom movie trailers meant to support awards campaigns is pondered by Calum Marsh at Variety. Essentially they serve a similar purpose as other “for your consideration” ads, working to remind awards voters of how well-received the film that’s been nominated was and providing a reason to choose it. Two things go untouched on by Marsh:
- That the reach of these trailers extends far beyond the actionable audience, meaning mainstream audiences are often seeing the same spots. The trailers then have to walk the line between making the soft sell to voting members and supporting whatever phase of release the film is currently in.
- It seems like an odd editorial call to interview Jeff Wells and include his comments about how of course special “consideration” campaigns, including trailers, are necessary without pointing out that his site, like many others, relies greatly on the ad bonanza that comes during awards season. He has skin in the game and a nod to that would have gone a long way.
How Deep Should Data-Driven Movie Advertising Go?
The V By Viacom team (disclosure: I did some freelance writing for that site, though I don’t think they ever published my one post) recounts the conversation it hosted at Sundance around using data as part of movie marketing campaigns. Filmmakers are wary of over-targeting the messaging of their movies, either because it feels creepy or because doing so risks making too narrow an appeal.
While I admire the “don’t stalk my fans” ethos espoused by the filmmakers, they’re thinking of a more or less traditional ad campaign run on the open web in support of a theatrical release or at least an on-demand one. The dynamics are much different for a film that’s distributed via a streaming service such as Netflix. In that case, data-driven audience targeting is the rule, not the exception, all done internally within the service’s own ecosystem. There may be some broader ads run as well, but without using data to trip the recommendation engine, the movie isn’t going to get on anyone’s radar.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.