How Movies Are Marketed

Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how movies are marketed, and I'd love to get people's comments. It seems like there are some main ways that we become aware of movies coming out soon.

  • Actors, writers, director (who I'll call "key people") on national morning shows (Today, Good Morning America) or national evening shows (Conan, Daily Show).
  • Key people doing regional shows, like appearing on a local segment (live or by satellite) for say a Denver or NY or San Francisco news or lifestyle segment.
  • Key people on drive-time radio like kooky morning shows.
  • TV commercials. Hard to miss some of those. :)
  • Newspaper ads
  • TV reviews during the news, or movie review shows. I'll also lump newspaper reviews with this.

Many of these are designed to drive you to the movie's website, which then wants to drive you to…

  • Join a mailing list
  • Follow a twitter account
  • Read a blog
  • Watch trailers, clips, and interviews
  • Download a desktop image or phone application
  • Discuss on a forum
  • Go to MySpace or another sub-site

It's not like the TV commercial sends you straight to their Twitter account… they want you on the website. And at that point, they'd like you to be one of their army who is telling friends, sharing clips, and thinking about when this movie comes out.

There are other ways to promote movies, like appearing at film festivals or doing special screenings in certain towns. But how many of us learn about a movie from that? I can't name a single movie that is playing at a festival. I can't name a single movie that is on a tour of cities to do special previews and screenings. So that's not where I get my movie awareness… unless I know someone who follows that stuff. And if the movie isn't doing some of that more traditional marketing
listed above, when would my friends or I find out about the special
screenings? It seemed like a circle, or a sort of catch 22.

You might find a movie's Twitter from friends who found it (but then somebody found it at SOME point). You might stumble on it, say on Fandango or YouTube, and watch a trailer, interviews, and other things put out there to make you interested. You might learn about a movie by seeing what your local theatre is playing… it's possible they're playing something you never heard of, and now you're going to read up about the movie.

And then there's also the "paid buzz," like paying bloggers to write about your movie, paying people to Tweet, paying people to post things to their Facebook, etc… I'm not sure how much of that will be the FIRST time we've heard about a movie… I'm trying to think about our first awarenesses of a new movie, and what the movie people do to make sure we're excited, we are going to see it, and tell friends.

How do you find out about movies? Do you send clips of movies to friends? I'd love to know more about the marketing of movies because I tend to think that it just about ALWAYS takes at least SOME of the traditional movie marketing in order to get a giant amount of the public to know about it, to be excited about it, and to tell friends.

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Categories: Just An Observation

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One Response to “How Movies Are Marketed”

  1. Well my son who is a BIG movie fanatic follows a blogger called CHUD and personally I find out about them two/three ways:
    1) Trailers at the movies I’m in the theatre watching
    2) The Sunday Paper arts and entertainment section (so old-fashioned, I know)
    3)The Philadelphia Film website for what’s filming here (since the same movie fanatic son is also involved in production jobs on movies filming in the Tri-state area)
    You follow them on Twitter? HOW do you find them there? I can’t even find the 2 local sportscasters I like and respect. And I KNOW they have twitter accounts.