Films need a marketing plan to create visibility, raise awareness and engage interest; this is vital in such a competitive industry. The audience must be reached in compelling ways to persuade them that the film is a must see. There are many aspects of marketing to consider:
Target audience Campaigns need to reach as much of the target audience as possible cost-effectively. Different audiences may respond differently to different strategies. An older audience may respond best to TV and press advertisements whereas a younger audience may respond best to online and radio advertisements.
There are many ways to raise awareness for a film:
Posters Posters can target an audience by focusing on production values of the film such as stars, genre, directors and tag lines. Posters can be produced internationally and adapted for local audiences or the can be produced in the UK from scratch. Many months before release, an initial teaser poster may be released, this increases early hype for a film. Cardboard standees, banners, window clings and mini-posters may also be displayed to advertise a films release in more innovative ways.
Trailers are played on the big screen to a captive audience who are likely to be viewing a film of a similar genre. This makes trailers one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques as the audience are likely to absorb the trailer.
Full trailers are screened shortly before a film opens, however teaser trailers can be released a lot earlier, these are only 30-90 seconds. The often contain little actual film footage as the film is still in production.
Full length Teaser
Online and Mobile
The internet is playing an ever more important role in the promotion of films.
Most films have an official website offering trailers, production information, stills and behind the scene footage. Film lovers therefore feel more involved in the making of the film and are more inclined to want to see the finished product.
The internet helps to build early hype as news snippets, teaser images, video diaries and blogs mean that the anticipation for the release builds, especially with franchise films.
However, anyone can post on the internet, leaving films susceptible to bad reviews, spoof trailers and negative chat room opinions.
An extreme example of fan sites building hype: http://thetwilightfansite.net/
Terrestrial television is traditionally the most effective visual means of targeting a mass audience, however this is a very costly form of advertising. This is suitable for blockbusters and event films as they need mass marketing to support they’re wide release.
Posters are another form of mass advertising with approximately 250,000 poster sites in the UK.
Distributors have limited budgets and therefore need to find inventive ways to gain an active not passive response from the TA. Communication can be made to the TA via text messages and emails, these are low cost yet personally target individuals.
Editorial coverage of a film can be more persuasive than mass marketing as it offers personal opinions of journalists. The audience may identify with these writers and therefore believe they will share the same opinion. However, column space is limited and there is high levels of competition.
Media interviews are available with members of the films cast, journalists are given press kits to aid the interview.
Screenings for National Critics and Set Visits
Screenings for national critics are held before a film opens publicly.
Positive reviews are no guarantee of a films success but extracts can be used when advertising a film and certain critics can raise the films status.
Film sets are normally strictly closed to the public but distributers may decide to hold set visits for journalists and marketing partners, in the hope to gain loyalties.
Major award ceremonies are an important time in the film industry, publicists have to promote films vying for consideration in the hope to give the film status.
Promotional partnerships can horizontally saturate a brand as the target audience can experience characters from the film in a whole new way.
Merchandise such as ringtones, clothing and calenders allow fans to fully invest their loyalty in the film.
Premiers provide a platform to mark the official launch of film, letting everyone know that they can see it in cinemas now. It is a chance to promote the stars of the show and reach high profile TV slots, giving the BUZZ factor.
Film festivals allow for competitions, a platform for films to be showcased and also a market for distributors to meet with sellers.