The Future of Movie Marketing

In Todd Defren’s blog PR Squared he discusses the idea of relationship building in movie launches rather than just campaigns.  He says campaigns are usually used because movies are such short-term events but began to brainstorm a relationship aspect. He suggested an online casting call of sorts,

“Imagine a no-holds-barred global casting call in which a pre-determined selection of — say, 5 actors — was subjected to a reality-tv style vote that took place across several weeks, for a major studio release.  Each actor’s Facebook Fan Page could include their screen test, their bio, oodles of shareable content, etc., as well as the to-and-fro message boards where the actors could interact with their fans and guide them to ever-more-interesting acts of promotion on their behalf.”

There are many problems with this idea on the execution side of things. I’m no film expert but I know that more goes into cast selection than just a director wanting someone and the actor accepting. There’s timing involved with what actors are shooting what, what timeframe the movie has to get made in, the movies budget; sorry to say but some itty-bitty indie film just can’t afford the cast of Ocean’s 11. There’s also a high school like popularity contest that can come with social media, I don’t want Ashton Kutcher in a movie he’s not right for just because he has millions of twitter followers.  

Another idea was:

“The actors could give anyone who tweets 50X about their vote in the contest a personalized photo, or access to a special Twitter avatar, or raffle off a trip to see them on-set.”

Here you just run into crazy fans who want the free stuff more than a successful movie. Many people may just vote for their favorite actors regardless of if they are right for the part. I love Dane Cook’s stand up and have seen every movie he’s been in, many of which just because he was in it. I don’t find him to be an amazing actor, he’s improving with every role but I’m a fan and I want to support him. This is where problems arise in letting fans choose, even if you narrow it down to five choices for them will the right man get the job? Will there be a boycott of the movie by fans that voted for the remaining four actors?

Another way I choose movies by actors is their reputation. To my movie taste Gerard Butler, or his people, or whoever is behind picking his movies has a good selection process. He was amazing in 300, more of a boy movie but looked good in his barley there uniform for the girls. In P.S. I Love You, more of a chick flick but showed a balance, he continued that balance with The Ugly Truth and Gamer, all of which are movies I have enjoyed and he has earned my trust as a movie watcher that anything he’s in is worth the ticket price. Letting the selection process not be about the actor and director can change all of that.

I do love the direction this is heading; it is an inspired idea, especially for a quick brainstorming session. I agree that relationship building in the movie industry would be way more powerful of a movement than a campaign but more time and thought is required. It is much easier to be “negative Nelly” and critique the ideas of others than come up with your own. So what do you think? Do you believe there is a way to build relationships in the movie world or it is just better left to campaigns? How would you go about building a relationship?

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6 Responses to The Future of Movie Marketing

  1. cgharai says:

    I agree with you on this Sam. Although relationship building is more powerful, it shouldn’t be the only factor. We are constantly seeing a trend in the “movie-biz” where campaigns are not used thoroughly or to their fullest capability. I think the current trend is the most popular one especially in that line of work/industry. As time goes on, I am sure a more unique platform will develop, one more dynamic, for relationships to be build upon. In PR, it is all about “who you know.” As they say, your network is your net worth, therefore to criticize the relationship between actors /actresses and the producer needs to be based on talent.

  2. mkuhl says:

    I agree that this has the potential for something beneficial to come out of this, but as you said, it is not that simple. Choosing an actor or actress is a complicated process, and while having the public’s input is not an entirely bad idea, leaving it completely up to them is asking for disaster in my opinion. I think using Twitter is good for some aspects in casting and for new actors and actresses to try to make a breakthrough in Hollywood, but when it comes to established actors and actresses, it is not necessary. One bad thing about this idea is dealing with the negative comments. If someone posts their profile on Twitter and receives a lot of negative feedback, it could be heartbreaking to them. You would also have to worry about followers who are quick to jump on the bandwagon. If they see negative comments, their opinion might be misconstrued.

  3. edean says:

    I also agree with you Sam. I’m surprised the movie industry hasn’t taken advantage of the potentials of fan outreach via social media. I don’t know if I really think the public should choose what actor plays in what movie but instead involving the public throughout the production of the movie could engage a larger audience. This way, by the time they go to see the film they have developed a stronger para-social relationship with the cast.

  4. sdoyle says:

    I would just like to say that my love for Gerard Butler and/or his people was reinforced last night when I finally saw Law Abiding Citizen. Amazing. So yes I agree Claudia it does need to be based on talent. Miranda that’s an interesting idea for breakthrough actors that would be a great opportunity especially since they would be for minor roles not the starring role. Yes fan outreach is a great use for films and will build that relationship.

  5. bihrig says:

    I am a little stumped on this one. Involving the audience in an “online casting call” would potentially get a movie a lot of media attention and build an automatic fan base. But, like you said how talented or “right” for the movie the most popular actor. Fans are crazy and some actors have a bigger following then others, but aren’t as talented or maybe not right for the role.
    Robert Pattinson comes to my mind when I think about current popular actors. I am not a Twilight follower, but can agree with most other women….he is one good looking guy. His fan base right now is huge and the fans are a little obsessed. So if you were to put Pattinson and Johnny Depp up against each other for a vote on who should get a movie role, Pattinson would win by a land slide. Regardless of how talented or how many awards Johnny Depp has won, people are loyal fans and right now Pattinson has a ridiculously big fan base.
    My point is I don’t think fans should be allowed to vote on who is best for the part. They will not choose who is the most talented. They will choose the actor they are a bigger fan of for various reasons. I say leave the casting to the directors.

  6. ndapplegate says:

    Very interesting post. Personally I do not look at “online casting call” as good idea. To me it comes off as laziness. I feel that a director and producer have a special talent for selecting their cast that involving the audience could turn into chaos. Like you said, I think it will turn into a popularity contest among fans too. Even though it would give the movie a lot of media attention I do not think it is the right attention for the movie industry. Everyone needs to stick to their jobs and let the casting directors do choose the best candidate.

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