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Jandrew

Box Office Theory Marketing 101

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As someone who is in and loves the field of marketing, I'm always on the offensive or defensive when we talk about it. I decided to create a thread where we can discuss movie marketing and studio campaigns. What does BOT think about X movie's marketing, what is a good or bad campaign to you, and what do you expect them to do? What movies lived and died on their campaigns and what was effective or ineffective?

 

Being on BOF since the beginning, I have seen many discussions over time and feel many here see a movie as having bad marketing just because it had 2 trailers instead of 3 or because they started pressing the campaign 1 1/2 months before release instead of 4. I feel too much emphasis is put in trailer views (TV spots get more eyes), and I feel we judge things like posters or images too hard, when the GA really doesn't care.

 

And I feel there is a bias against Sony and Fox here, mainly because they don't have the franchises that WB and Disney do. Universal was in the same boat until Jurassic, Fast, Shades, and DM exploded, now Universal is everyone's fav. Deadpool imo had one of the best campaigns this decade but it was mocked until OW, or at least until the high tracking. Before release, SKLPOOPL and Fox's other meta tactics were laughed at here, then after release it was seen as genius. So why?

 

We always talk about marketing, but really only in respective movie threads. So I'm creating this so we can have a thread dedicated to everything movie marketing.  


 

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I'll start by commenting on Beauty and the Beast. While I still think it's being over hyped here, I do have to admit the marketing is A grade. How many trailers there are doesn't matter because they are hitting the right chords, theyre airing spots at the right time (more female centered awards ceremonies) and on places like Hulu, a hit song is already out, and the whole thing is just oozing charisma. Also when I went on Spotify on Valentines Day, a BATB VD playlist was front and center on the home page. Now that's thinking outside the box.

 

Conversely, it's seem most here are not impressed with Power Rangers' marketing. I agree LGF needs to be more aggressive, but what else should they be doing? They just released a new trailer thats doing well, the character posters are on display, and tv spots should start rolling this week or the next. Plus action figures.

 

While the SM leads are fine, I feel LGF needs to be more aggressive on it considering the target age group. And it'd be good to see more tie-ins. What else needs to be done in yall's opinion?

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Also, I feel Minions has had the best campaign this decade and probably one of the best since 2000. Seriously. The movie was boring as hell, but that whole campaign thought outside the box.

 

They had the Minions blimp (or maybe that was DM2, or both?) that flew a tour all over the country, Universal Studios tie-in, Minions Tic Tacs, Minions Twinkies, Minions bananas, that clever super bowl spot, a few good trailers, the Minions famous art gag, the ArcLight takeover, the McDonalds takeover, the Univision takeover, the MLB tie-in, Pantone coming out with "minion yellow" paint, and those-Amazon-boxes

 

Blockbuster franchises always have huge campaigns (see Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Pixar and DWA, etc). It's not so much about how big it was, but how clever it was.

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5 hours ago, jandrew said:

Blockbuster franchises always have huge campaigns (see Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Pixar and DWA, etc). It's not so much about how big it was, but how clever it was.

 

Always big, but rarely Force Awaken/Minions big, Minions marketing campaign would have cost in the 600-650 million if it was not for the product placement deal, that how giant it was. Size is still a major factor.

 

 

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The Force Awakens was big, but it wasnt that creative to me. Pretty standard tie-in campaign with enough goods thrown around to salivate the fans and show the GA this is a new saga.

 

Yes Minions cost everyone $600m+, but that $600m wasnt spent typically like weve seen it before.

 

Minions was the most creative animation campaign easily since maybe The Simpsons Movie - which was another insanely creative campaign, animated or live.

 

I dont care so much abou the budget, but rather how that budget is used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jandrew
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Lionsgate usually is more modest with their campaigns -- they don't spend an arm and a leg. I think their POWER RANGERS push is doing fine.

 

I like to see clever and inventive marketing too, but let's be honest, that's secondary to simply spreading awareness and getting asses in seats for opening weekend. 

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One thing I'm sure @jandrew is aware of, but perhaps is sometimes lost in the discussion of a specific film's marketing campaign, is that the goal for a studio is to maximize profits, not revenue. So more marketing is not always better, at some point the amount of extra revenue coming into the studio from additional marketing will fall below the cost of that marketing.

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34 minutes ago, Telemachos said:

Lionsgate usually is more modest with their campaigns -- they don't spend an arm and a leg. I think their POWER RANGERS push is doing fine.

 

I like to see clever and inventive marketing too, but let's be honest, that's secondary to simply spreading awareness and getting asses in seats for opening weekend. 

 

Lionsgate only has to focus on US and UK markets marketing wise since their partners who distribute their films elsewhere handle the marketing costs so they wouldn't spend as much compared to the bigger studios. 

 

Universal/Illumination likely spend more on marketing Minions or SLOP compared to what they spent making it, likewise with WB with Lego Batman. In the UK, Sky has used films like Lego Batman, SLOP, Inside Out etc to promote their broadband but also acts as marketing for the film at the same time. 

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5 hours ago, jandrew said:

The Force Awakens was big, but it wasnt that creative to me. Pretty standard tie-in campaign with enough goods thrown around to salivate the fans and show the GA this is a new saga.

 

Yes Minions cost everyone $600m+, but that $600m wasnt spent typically like weve seen it before.

 

Minions was the most creative animation campaign easily since maybe The Simpsons Movie - which was another insanely creative campaign, animated or live.

 

I dont care so much abou the budget, but rather how that budget is used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Force Awakens did a good job of revealing enough but also keeping enough secret. Basically mystery box marketing done right

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Even though, it arguably lessened the impact in-movie. The Cloverfield Title reveal probably earned that film an extra 60M or so in Box Office worldwide it wasn't going to make through WOM about the cool reveal.

 

Spoiler

Although there have been other films released over the past year that maybe disproved both parts of that theory. 

 

I always thought Deadpool's marketing gave it the potential for a 3 figure opening (I think there is proof in the Deadpool thread if I bothered looking). It was some of the best cheap marketing ever tbh. 

 

On the flip side, I think prometheus and STID are films that fucked up by trying to hide connections to films it had clear connections to. 

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Honestly, I think trailers are completely unnecessary for any movie that is more than two months from its wide release date. Moviegoing is a relatively impromptu activity, and the vast majority of people don't make plans very far in advance the way they do a concert or major sports event. You only really need to start getting the word out once people are realistically willing to make concrete plans for it. Exceptions I guess would be movies that can generate ancillary revenue streams just through promoting themselves (IE Star Wars, cbms, kids movie franchises)

 

Analyzing marketing in general is usually a hindsight thing. If a movie breaks out, its marketing was always "great", if it disappoints the marketing always "sucked". Audiences are fickle and there's always a risk involved figuring out the correct manner and channels to promote your product. 

 

 

Edited by tribefan695
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1 hour ago, tribefan695 said:

Moviegoing is a relatively impromptu activity, and the vast majority of people don't make plans very far in advance the way they do a concert or major sports event.

 

 

 

I imagine that it is less and less true for a big part of the audience, the average americans goes to the movies only 4 time a year's, in others country it is usually 3 or less time a year, I know some people (say new parents) that decide 6-8 months in advance the 1 movie they will see during the year.

 

I agree that if you try to analyse marketing once you know the result you will be extremely biased (and you cannot be not influenced). There is also break point (when you reach a critical mass of people getting interested, humans are programmed to follow what the group does), say like Jurassic World or The Revenant, that make a lot of people feeling the need to see it and vice versa, that exaggerate success and failure much more than just the quality of the movie and it's marketing.

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15 minutes ago, Barnack said:

 

I imagine that it is less and less true for a big part of the audience, the average americans goes to the movies only 4 time a year's, in others country it is usually 3 or less time a year, I know some people (say new parents) that decide 6-8 months in advance the 1 movie they will see during the year.

 

Even if that's true, you still have to wait for the theaters to release the exact showtimes before you can figure out what works for you and that usually doesn't happen until a few days before release. And if you had planned to see the Thursday preview that in far advance, you probably were well aware of the movie's existence before any trailers were released.

 

 

Edited by tribefan695
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Multiplex showtime for blockbuster is extremely standard, you already know your multiplex will have it and it will play everyday, multiple time by day, I don't think you need schedule info to decide that it is one of the movie you will consider to see in advance and keep an eye on (I don't think those people go to thursday preview or mind much when they see it in theater, those are more frequent movie goer I would think). I think I mispoke, I don't mean decide to see for sure, more put in the very short list of movie they consider maybe getting a baby sitter and all the trouble and will keep an eye on (if the reviews are bad for example they will change their mind).

 

I think a superbowl trailer can have some impact, even if it is more than 60 days before a release for example.

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3 hours ago, tribefan695 said:

Honestly, I think trailers are completely unnecessary for any movie that is more than two months from its wide release date. Moviegoing is a relatively impromptu activity, and the vast majority of people don't make plans very far in advance the way they do a concert or major sports event. You only really need to start getting the word out once people are realistically willing to make concrete plans for it. Exceptions I guess would be movies that can generate ancillary revenue streams just through promoting themselves (IE Star Wars, cbms, kids movie franchises)

 

Analyzing marketing in general is usually a hindsight thing. If a movie breaks out, its marketing was always "great", if it disappoints the marketing always "sucked". Audiences are fickle and there's always a risk involved figuring out the correct manner and channels to promote your product. 

 

 

 

 

releasing a trailer well in advance for a blockbuster movie is tradition. Star Wars had its first trailer released in December 1976. And that was back before social media could spread things around so there was even less of a reason to back then than now

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Just to touch on trailer views.  High trailer views on a YT probably doesn't cause high grosses, but the more I've tried with my regression analysis, the more I've found they really do correlate.  Especially for your mid-range hits (your typical ones).

 

Im not a marketing expert by any means, I know some of the basics that are integrated with my economics classes, so it's interesting.

 

I also don't think a company needs to necessarily have creative marketing to deliver results.  It can help, but what ultimately matters is to make people aware of the movie, and make people want to see it.  Plus, while you don't necessarily want to minimize your marketing costs (as each dollar in spending for marketing should result in marginal returns from it), your film studio likely has the data to make a good estimate on how much they're going to want to spend on marketing.

 

Also, different marketing strategies will likely work for different films.  Also, certain films, like Star Wars, can essentially market themselves by having companies want to have the SW brand on their product, so it's essentially free advertising for Disney.

 

I think it's hard to determine for sure if a studio did a good or bad job on marketing, or if they could have done better, without the full set of information that the studio has.

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On 2/23/2017 at 10:34 AM, jandrew said:

I'll start by commenting on Beauty and the Beast. While I still think it's being over hyped here, I do have to admit the marketing is A grade. How many trailers there are doesn't matter because they are hitting the right chords, theyre airing spots at the right time (more female centered awards ceremonies) and on places like Hulu, a hit song is already out, and the whole thing is just oozing charisma. Also when I went on Spotify on Valentines Day, a BATB VD playlist was front and center on the home page. Now that's thinking outside the box.

We argue a lot about marketing here, lol. Personally, I think the Beauty and the Beast push is good, not great. They're making a huge mistake not marketing to younger boys. This is a family movie in addition to a romance film, and I haven't seen any TV spots focused on the Beast or Gaston. There's potential there they're kinda ignoring for some reason. IDK, it'll still do well, but I wouldn't call it A+ marketing

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2 hours ago, Blankments said:

We argue a lot about marketing here, lol. Personally, I think the Beauty and the Beast push is good, not great. They're making a huge mistake not marketing to younger boys. This is a family movie in addition to a romance film, and I haven't seen any TV spots focused on the Beast or Gaston. There's potential there they're kinda ignoring for some reason. IDK, it'll still do well, but I wouldn't call it A+ marketing

 

There's a cost to doing so.  They have to pay for spots and spend resources making them for a demo that isn't going to be key to the movie's success, or its merchandising success down the road.  

 

It's the same reason they don't try use romance aspects in comic book films and turn those into spots and ads to target the female demo (Deadpool aside).  Maybe it'd boost BO, but not to an extent where they see it as worthwhile to invest the spending into.

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I like the marketing technique that WB used for the latest JL trailer. I do think its dumb to keep Superman such a classified secret though, we all know hes coming back.

 

Trailer was meh, but it generated talk and it trended, so it did its job. I do wonder if WB may have spent too much though to promote something coming out in November that everyone was gonna eventually find out about anyway. All those MM ads arent that cheap.

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