Fire the Creatives! Way to Blue at #SMWLDN.

fire them

The film marketing model we see today has remained largely unchanged since the 1980s. In this recap of Way to Blue's event "Fire the Creatives! The Audience Has Arrived", Dan Heale takes a look at the influence of the audience on 21st century film marketing.

A vast proportion of marketing budget is still spent on movie artwork and trailers cut for cinema and TV. All of this material remains vital in the marketing mix, and although it is usually first seen on digital channels, none of this content is created specifically for social platforms and mobile devices.

At a time when audiences are increasingly becoming aware of movies first via social networks and peer recommendation, the majority of content made for these channels is coming from the audience, rather than filmmakers, distributors and studios. There are notable exceptions, but most film marketing campaigns continue to follow the established model.

For this year’s #SMWLDN, we assembled a panel of filmmakers, platform owners, journalists and marketers to discuss a wide range of topics concerning movie marketing in a digital age. Our conversation was driven by the increasing audience engagement as seen in specific types of content we create and use in social media campaigns.

Towards the end of 2012, we were managing the social campaign for Life Of Pi for 20th Century Fox and came across an interesting piece of fan generated content. This image of a boy and his cat recreating the movie poster delivered phenomenal engagement results.

At Way To Blue we are finding that the most successful social campaigns we run require a balance of three different types of content. Official publicity assets remain incredibly important to kick start a campaign, but it’s important to develop content exclusively for the social audience due to the way in which they engage by using multiple different devices. And user-generated content is playing an increasingly important role in successful marketing campaigns for films – not just within social.

Take the recent outdoor campaign for TheHunger Games, where a super-fan was approached by the distributor to provide artwork and creative assets for the campaign.

Our panel spent 90 minutes debating the following topics:

• The effectiveness of social media vs broad television reach
• How to engage the core audience
• Controlling content and conversation
• The right time to start and the right content to start with
• Building a content strategy right through the product lifecycle
• Creating relevant content for each individual marketing platform
• The power of peer to peer vs authority influence
• The importance of listening
• How the business will change in the next 10 years

Over the coming few days we will be writing an individual article on each of these points, summarizing the discussion and any conclusions we reached. The purpose of this is to encourage a positive debate about how we can evolve the business we love.

For those of you who’d like to watch the discussion now, you can take a look at our livestream here (just skip forward to 7mins in).

We would love to broaden the debate and hear what you think. Contact us via Twitter @waytoblueuk using the hashtag #changefilm.