Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Marketing section feedback

3. How has the film been marketed to ensure the film reached its UK audience? AVATAR CASE STUDY QUESTIONS
3. How has the film been marketed to ensure the film reached its UK audience?
Overall, a good answer that uses the key concepts well at times, although not always consistently.


Audiences and Institutions key concepts:
1.      The film's target audience, both in the UK and globally (core and secondary markets, audience demographics, typical audience profile) good
2.      Patterns and trends of audience behaviour (audience tastes and habits in media consumption, pleasures, sharing, uses and gratifications) some
3.      How the film has been received, both globally and in the UK (box office and other data, reviews and opinions, debates/discussions around the film) some, lacks specific examples though
4.      The issues raised in the targeting of UK national and local audiences by international or global institutions (specific needs of the UK market, cultural awareness, impact of global distribution) not really tackled
5.      The issues raised by the institutional ownership of each film (production company, production and marketing budgets, UK distributor, licensing deals) not tackled
6.      The importance of cross media convergence and synergy (production technology, marketing campaign, the website, social networking, viral, cross platform distribution) good although not enough about audience appeal/gratifications/pleasures. Key issue is about the difference in the web presence of one film compared to the other and how web 2.0 has been utilised to market Avatar compared to the more traditional nature of the marketing for TBTR. This point is identified but not fully explored. TBTR official website not explored at all.
7.      The technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exhibition/exchange (3D, CGI/animation, blu-ray, home cinema, multi-channel TV, PVR, digital cinema projection, fast broadband) Again, this is not explicitly tackled in relation to impact on marketing
8.      The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences (competition, changing digital landscapes, technological obsolescence, investment costs, piracy) Again, this is not explicitly tackled in relation to impact on marketing
9.      The importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences (portability, convenience, levels of control and personalisation, non-linear experiences, interactivity/immersion, changing expectations, impact on traditional media insititutions, rise in short form content, piracy) discussed but impact not always explicit

AVATAR - 3. How has the film been marketed to ensure the film reached its UK audience?

Avatar 


Target Audience

"Eight to eighty" according to James Cameron in an interview. Main target audience males aged 18-24, but IMDB user votes show popularity with ALL ages. This is because of its wide appeal, multi genres and 12A rating, making it viewable to pretty much everyone aged around 10 and above.



In order to appeal to this audience in the UK, Avatar used a wide range of both above the line and below the line marketing. Avatar's marketing campaign was mainly above-the-line, partnering with huge global business conglomerates to appeal to a mass audience, in contrast to The Boat That Rocked. Avatar's extreme word-of-mouth hype leading up to the film and generous reviews also gave the film astonishing amounts of free publicity and advertising, making it a 'must-see' movie for all ages around the world.

Avatar's marketing budget was expected to be over $200 million, which is probably one of the reasons it reached such a massive audience.




Posters -   Teaser posters, in particular the one with the Na'vi's face and the simple copy 'From the director of Titanic' and 'AVATAR' released months before the films release were used to create buzz around the film and excite audiences. The simplicity of the close-up blue alien's face shocks audiences, as it is not a face they are familiar with, and they are likely to remember it. Closer to the release date, more detailed posters were released showing more of the characters, scenery, and the film's release date. There is a clear blue theme running through all the posters, creating a house style for all the different marketing platforms working in synergy, as this colour links to the film's title style and skin colour of the characters. How typical are the posters in relation to Hollywood film posters generally?  The posters weren't typical compared to general Hollywood posters as the didn't need to give a lot away due to the word-of-mouth buzz around the film, and most people already knew roughly what the film was about. This meant that no tagline was needed and the posters relied on the the high impact of the beauty and strangeness of the Na'vi's blue faces.

 
Magazine Features - Avatar released a set of exclusive photos to be shown in the October issue of EMPIRE magazine, over two months before its release date. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship, as both EMPIRE and Avatar benefited from this, and a great cross-platform tie-in. What is the specific demographic? Does everybody read Empire?  The magazine is a British publication, directly targeting the UK audience. It is also the biggest selling film magazine in Britain, allowing the feature to reach a very large audience. It focuses primarily on mainstream films rather than smaller arthouse films, which made it the perfect place for the Avatar photos to be previewed, and it meant the right audience - fans of mainstream movies - was targeted. As the magazine's main demographic is young males, it linked perfectly with Avatar's top target audience, and as the magazine is very well-known and has a good reputation, as well as being fairly expensive for a magazine, it is seen as a trustworthy source so when it showed Avatar favourably, it would have encouraged a lot of its loyal readers to go and see the film. The magazine reviewed Avatar as "a flawed but fantastic tour de force" that served as "a love letter to humanity and the glory of mother nature", again encouraging its reader to go and see it and make up their own mind about how good it is. Is this the only cross-platform tie-in you could find?


Trailers - At the end of August, in partnership with the first teaser poster, Avatar released a teaser trailer shown in cinemas and online at just over 2 minutes long. With only one line of dialogue, it had international appeal and let the graphics speak for themselves. The three-and-a-half minute long feature trailer was launched internationally, closer to the release date, and gave much more of the story away with more dialogue and revelation of the film's narrative.


Viral - The viral campaign was no doubt successfull and almost definitely made people want to see the film however its full potential was never exploited. AVTR.com gave people the chance to avatar themselves as well as meet characters such as Commander Karl Falco and read up on the story line of Avatar. However due to a lack of updates the september launched website went ‘dead’ for two months with no updates offering new light on the campaign.You need to identify the range of features on the Avatar website and talk about their appeal to the audience. What needs does the website gratify? The website was sponsored by Coca-Cola, and special bottles and cans of the drinks allowed users to interact with 3D features on the website using augmented reality technology when these drinks were held in front of a webcam. This allowed immersion and escape from everyday life for its users, much like the film itself due to its extensive 3D graphics. It also gave users more details about the film, satisfying their need for information and learning new things about exciting up-and-coming media, like Avatar. There was also a quiz for users to see if they would be qualified to join Avatar's program, satisfying their needs for fun and relieve themselves of everyday stress.



Premiere -  The premiere for Avatar took place on the 10th December 2009. For a start, there were no huge headlines to contend with, so coverage of the event was saturated over the entertainment pages of every newspaper. The intense hype around the film created a huge turn out, though the screening itself was EXTREMELY EXCLUSIVE. Fox had embargoed reviews until the 14th so guests and critics were sworn to secrecy, providing even more of a challenge for tabloids to compete to reveal the slightest pieces of information on the film. In contrast to the typical red carpet, the Avatar premiere had a blue carpet in keeping with the predominant colour scheme of the film and brand marketing. Like The Boat That Rocked, Avatar too had ticket giveaways to the premiere. A competition on the LG website in association with Total Film required fans to create their own Avatar- the grand winner receiving 2 tickets to the premiere and all expenses paid overnight stay in London. 366 runners up also got their moment of glory as their avatars were featured in two online adverts on the T3 and Total Film websites as well as winning a pair of Odeon tickets to see the movie on general release. The competition was only open to residents of the UK aged 16+. In addition to this, Coca Cola (again a HUGE GLOBAL BUSINESS) partnered with 20th Century Fox in a competition to win tickets for the UK premiere. Where was the film premiered and why? The Avatar world premiere was held at Odeon in Leicester Square, London, which was interesting as the film's director and production company is American. The exclusivity of this event in London made the film very appealing to the UK audience as they would have felt that James Cameron chose his film to premiere in the UK rather than America which made the event seem special to Brits. 


Games & Cross Media/Technological Convergence - McDonalds and 20th Century Fox (two of the most powerful global businesses) partnered together to create a symbiotic marketing campaign which was mutually advantages to both sides.  The game, titled PANDORAQUEST, was a high-resolution interactive game available to play on McDonald's websites all around the world. Interactive toys and games in Happy Meals appealed to the younger demographics and are a good example of the benefits of proliferation in hardware over the past years. Avatar also released an iPod/iPhone game, with a Free 'Lite' version and a fuller more expensive version to cover consumers willing to pay all different prices.
Specific appeal to which demographic?This appeals to both casual gamers who don't spend much money on apps with the free version, as well as more keen gamers with more money to spend on their phone/iPod with the full version. The game is aimed more at teenagers and adults, as children don't tend to have expensive iPhones, though they are more likely to play the free version on an iPod touch, so again this clever marketing campaign from Avatar managed to reach a very widespread demographic. As iPods and iPhones are very popular with both males and females, it also widens the appeal of the film to both genders.  A console game, available on XBOX-360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS was also released, and although reviews weren't great, it was said to have exceptional graphics, working in synergy with the movie itself and allowing for complete immersion and escapism for players. This would have gratified players' wants and needs for escapism from everyday life, as by playing this game for a long period of time they would get very involved, especially with the high quality graphics. This widened the appeal of the game to younger children, as although the film was rated 12+, children younger than this probably would have bought it, as teenage and adult males tend to prefer multiplayer first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and Halo, and games consoles, especially XBOX-360 and PS3 are generally owned more by males then females.   


Social networking - Technological convergence and the extreme increase in popularity of social networking sites recently allowed a successful Twitter campaign by McDonald's with daily word scrambles and a prize of a private screening of Avatar. Avatar the film also has a Twitter page, Facebook page, Youtube channel and  Myspace profile, appealing to Generation Y, frequent consumers of technology. It also provided free advertising to a mass, global audience.


THE BOAT THAT ROCKED - 3. How has the film been marketed to ensure the film reached its UK audience?


In contrast to Avatars high profile marketing campaign, TBTR used  mainly TTL (through the line- a mix of above and below the line) promotional marketing techniques to target individual niche audiences based on their preferences (e.g music fans). As the strategy was not tailored to a wide audience reach, in turn fewer people were exposed to the campaign, but those who were DID see the film and enjoyed it, as it recieved largely positive reviews. The problem was that not enough people went to see the film in the first place resulting in a poor gross in the UK.




The Boat That Rocked


Target Audience
Main target audience is a little confused, which is part of the reason it didn't do very well at the box office. The time setting and 1960s music suggest that it is aimed at people in their 60s, as they would remember the time and understand all the historical references. However, its crude humour and quite boisterous sex jokes would make it too vulgar to many people this age, and it would have had more of an appeal to teenagers and young men. The film, despite age appeal uncertainty, is quite male-oriented, as nearly all of its cast are man, and most of the women in the film are presented as giggling fans of the radio station or simply as 'gifts' to the male DJs. This gave The Boat That Rocked a much less broad appeal than Avatar, especially with its 15 rating compared to Avatar's universally appealing 12A.



Posters - The Boat That Rocked released a teaser poster showing four of the main characters and the famous actors' names. Is this typical of British film posters? You need to research 'the quad poster' - this poster is an example. This appeals to audiences as they will recognise the names and be intrigued to know what the film is about. The characters' positions and styling have clear musical connotations as they are walking across the poster reminiscent of The Beatles' Abbey Road cover. This suggests that the film is targeted at people who were alive in the 1960s or fans of The Beatles. The walking of the plank and copy 'Setting Sail' clearly link to the film's title and show us that it is about a pirate radio station. They also released two sets of four character posters, one featuring long shots of each character with a brightly coloured background and one featuring CUs of each main character. A main campaign poster was released closer to the release date showing all eight main characters with bright block colours in the background, adding to the cheerful, optimistic 1960s style along with their costumes and styling. The bright colours also suggest that the film will be light-hearted and funny, in comparison to Avatar's dark colours that connote drama and serious themes. Colour scheme - relevance?

Trailers - A 1.30 minutes teaser trailer was released, featuring short clips of each character and some of the film's funny moments. It focused on the famous names of the film's ensemble cast and the successful films the Richard Curtis also created, appealing to fans of these films and actors. Unfortunately, many of the funniest parts of the films are rude jokes and therefore inappropriate to show in the trailer, making the film seem much less comedic than it actually is. The teaser trailer gave much more away about the film's plot and characters than the Avatar trailer, as The Boat That Rocked didn't have the initial word-of-mouth excitement that Avatar had even before any trailers were released. The 1960s music will appeal to those of a certain age that remember the song from the first time around, and the comedic cast and good-looking younger characters will have appealed more to the teenage audience.

Viral - The Boat That Rocked did not have a viral campaign possibly due to the adult target audience.  In the past, viral campaigns have proved most affective when targeted at a younger audience, mainly the Web 2.0 generation of teenagers and young adults with their fingers on the pulse of what's new, current and trendy in all aspects of media consumerism. They are the ones who are always connected to the internet and love sharing everything with their friends, which is necessary for a viral campaign to take off. Good examples of viral campaigns that have been successful are Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, both of which relied on younger audiences to share the viral adverts with all of their friends, providing essentially free advertising for the films. Another reason TBTR may not have opted for a viral campaign is due to its light-hearted genre, as successful viral campaigns are often for dramatic or scary films, as these seem to work more effectively as people are intrigued and excited about the film so immediately want to share them with their friends. vague However a viral campaign may have been effective as the traditional marketing campaign seemed inconsistant in who the target market was e.g the posters were colourful and youthful and seemed to appeal to a younger audience who would readily embrace a clever viral marketing strategy. Why didn't Universal prioritise a viral campaign over a traditional campaign? Also, traditionally British films don't tend to embrace technology as much as they perhaps should, which is another possible reason why they didn't go for a viral campaign for TBTR, in comparison to the American marketers of Avatar.


Premiere-  Although the premiere for The Boat That Rocked was well marketed it did not generate a big enough buzz for people to go and see it over the 3 other blockbusters released that week-despite the fact music legend Paul McCartney was in attendance and many competitions were held to win tickets from London freeshets to Global Radio. In the run up to the films release, DJs took to the seas to broadcast pirate style. Sadly, it didn't help that tabloids were full of stories about Jade Goody's death, drastically decreasing the column inches that the star studded event could have generated. This meant that the film premiere couldn't get the front page pictures it needed to make the media coverage effective, and it would have seemed distasteful to prioritise the light-hearted nature of the film premiere over the tragic passing of a nationwide entertainment personality. Newspapers would have chosen the more sombre news, not only because it would have seemed distasteful not to, but also because it would have satisfied more news values for its reader , as bad news is more newsworthy than good news.. Front page pics essential - and this didn't happen for reasons you identified


Games & Cross Media/ Technological Convergence- Universal brought out an iPod and iPhone app and a Dancing Buddy game on the website in anticipation of the release of the film, harnessing new software and providing short form content for fans on the move. However, this did not appeal to the core older audience demographic (60's music fans) as this was not a medium that they frequently consumed. In addition to this, the Spotify playlists though a good idea in theory only really appealed to tech savvy 60's music fans- so would not have been readily consumed by younger markets as the music may have appeared dated.


Social Networking & Online - The Boat That Rocked did not utilise social media to its full potential. Although the film had 60,000+ fans on Facebook, the page was static and non interactive, not giving fans the options to post photos and videos etc (unlike Avatar), failing to involve and immerse the potential audience to the same degree Avatar did, and therefore failing to satisfy the 'immersion' and 'escapism' that people need according to the Uses and Gratifications theory. The film did not have a Twitter, Youtube channel or a standalone interactive website, so UK distributors Working Title really missed a marketing opportunity there, especially when targeting the teenagers and young adults of the Web 2.0 generation who are online constantly. Bar a few pictures, they simply had an informative page from Working Title's official website which was fairly dull, basic and contained more industry relevant info than creating buzz for a potential audience (it served about as much purpose as the IMDB page that every film has). They may have decided not to create a website due to its core target audience being those who were alive in the 1960s who don't seem to consume online media as much, but as we have identified the younger market is the secondary target audience for TBTR so they definitely could have got more publicity with that age range with a proper website. Perhaps realising their faults and trying to triumph over the relative failure in the UK, American distributor Focus Features created a slightly more in depth and interactive website which included a contextual back story on pirate radio in the UK (to inform US audiences of the cultural phenomenon).  The website also features video clips, satisfying the audiences needs for interactivity. This would not have helped target UK audiences though, as it would only have been set up months later when the film was released in the US, and the title (Pirate Radio) would have been unfamiliar. A proper website would have been a good example of synergy between the film and online mediums, and a great way for Universal to harness the recent proliferation in online hardware and content.  Explain reasons why


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Distribution & Exhibition


Marketing

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Premieres

The Boat That Rocked World premiere was held at Odeon Leicester Square on the 23rd March 2009. 

"A red carpet wound through the middle of London's Leicester Square as women dressed in 60s' outfits danced on a plinth with vinyl record discs in the background. Sir Paul McCartney and his girlfriend Nancy Shevell were also pictured in good spirits on the red carpet. Geri Halliwell also turned heads in a gold mini-dress. Bond Girl Arterton described the film as "fun, fun, fun all the time. It was brilliant". Rhys Ifans, wearing rock star dark glasses and a snakeskin-style jacket, ambled up and down the red carpet Jane Seymour also attended the premiere as did Jonathan Ross with his daughters and son."

Celebrity guests of the premiere were all somehow linked to the music industry, really playing on the whole 'rock and roll' ethos of the film. The 60's style models provided fun photo-ops for all the stars and many of the pictures were funny and racy- completely capturing the light hearted and provocative nature of the film and an effort to secure front page headlines. Photos also later surfaced of star Gemma Arterton looking worse for wear whilst leaving the after party- synonymous with the young care free attitude of the 60's.


















Unfortunately, Reality TV star Jade Goody had passed away the previous day (also Mother's Day) so much of the press was dedicated to her. To feature such an upbeat, comedic film alongside the tragic death of a young public figure would have been distasteful. In turn, this meant that the film did not get the coverage the studio would have hoped for.
Headlines from the 24th and 23rd of March 




However, in the build up to the world premiere in London, many competitions were run. 








Global Radio signed a deal with Cineworld and Universal Pictures to promote the film on its radio stations- a great example of cross media convergence. 




On top of this, famous DJ Christian O'Connel broadcast his show on a boat in anticipation of the films release.


DJ's in Essex did a similar thing:


AND

Richard Curtis even auctioned off tickets to the premiere to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboats Institution 




Although both The Boat That Rocked and Avatar both had their world premieres in Odeon Leicester Square, there were many differences between them.


The premiere for Avatar took place on the 10th December 2009. For a start, there were no huge headlines to contend with, so coverage of the event was saturated over the entertainment pages of every newspaper. The intense hype around the film created a huge turn out, though the screening itself was EXTREMELY EXCLUSIVE. Fox had embargoed reviews until the 14th so guests and critics were sworn to secrecy, providing even more of a challenge for tabloids to compete to reveal the slightest pieces of information on the film. In contrast to the typical red carpet, the Avatar premiere had a blue carpet in keeping with the predominant colour scheme of the film and brand marketing. 




On December 4th, the video for the soundtrack of the film 'I See You' by Leona Lewis was released with the song available to purchase via the motion picture soundtrack on the 15th- during the week of the films global release. The famous BRITISH talent show winners video featured clips from the film. As she was busy promoting her own album in the states, she was not in attendance at the London premiere but sparkled her way to the front pages a few days later at the LA premiere wearing a stunning embellished gown landing her way onto fashion pages and best dressed lists across the country (and the globe) and helping to raise awareness of the film to a FEMALE AUDIENCE.



Like The Boat That Rocked, Avatar too had ticket giveaways to the premiere. A competition on the LG website in association with Total Film required fans to create their own Avatar- the grand winner receiving 2 tickets to the premiere and all expenses paid overnight stay in London. 366 runners up also got their moment of glory as their avatars were featured in two online adverts on the T3 and Total Film websites as well as winning a pair of Odeon tickets to see the movie on general release. The competition was only open to residents of the UK aged 16+.


In addition to this, Coca Cola (again a HUGE GLOBAL BUSINESS) partnered with 20th Century Fox in a competition to win tickets for the UK premiere.







The Boat That Rocked- Viral Campaign




One poster for TBTR


The Boat that Rocked – Lack of Viral campaign.

There was no such viral marketing campaign for the boat that rocked, however there was still a strong marketing campaign following key conventions of many British films. One reason for this lack of Viral marketing is that unlike American movie companies British ones just want to get the film made and are not known to worry about marketing until post production. However in America throughout the production of the film they are always thinking about how to market the end product.



Why no Viral?

Social networking sites are very influential in successful viral campaigns
It was a traditional British film that stuck to posters and trailers, despite these drumming up initial interest in failed to live up to its budget retaking only a quarter of their production budget. British films are traditionally not well known for being highly technical or up-to-date in their filming methods. They are normally based around having a good storyline, rather than amazing graphics of effects, and not many British films have been released in 3D yet. This is due to lack of funding and also the traditional feel of British cinema that has always been quite low-key. Although British audiences often prefer these kinds of films, it is the huge American blockbusters, often with lots of special effects or 3D graphics that take the largest sums of money at the box office, so it could be time for British cinema to develop their technology. When British films do have lots of graphics and technology involved, they are nearly always co-productions with funding from America, such as the Harry Potter franchise. It is because of the low-budget low-technology style of British films like The Boat That Rocked that often their marketing campaigns are the same, so social media and technology often isn't utilised. TBTR's marketing campaign is a prime example of that. Another reason for the lack of viral campaign  may have been because of the adult target audience. The primary target audience was 35-60 year olds who grew up around pirate radio, this is an age group that are not known to be big users of digital technology and the internet such as YouTube, Facebook and smart phone apps.

It is through these platforms that viral campaigns are most successful; one flaw of the campaign is the Facebook page for the film targets younger audience who the film did not appeal to as it was a period film. 


Good. Also explore other reasons for the lack of a viral campaign - are British films known for being highly viral/tech savvy in their marketing?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Avatar- Viral Campaign

Avatar was a film that positioned itself as an industry changing epic and gave many hope that a viral campaign reflecting would also be as incredible as the much anticipated film. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Despite drumming up initial interest through websites like Avtr.com, Avatar’s viral campaign failed to live up to the hype created.

 Avtr

This may have been because the website was launched in September but went ‘dead’ for two months with no updates offering new light on the campaign.
However the campaign did have the potential to be successful, it offered users the chance to create their own avatar character by uploading their pictures, allowing for personalisation and interactivity. Premiering in September, Avtr.com offered a glimpse into the Resource Development Administration and presented clues about Avatar’s plot. satisfying users' needs for information and wants to be in-the-know about up-and-coming events and media. Furthermore, visitors were introduced to a transmission from Colonel Quaritch that offered great insight into his character and highlighted the tensions on the planet. This allowed them to see humankind's true intentions for the planet. The concept of this campaign was very strong, it engaged audiences with its interactive capabilities such as turning themselves into an Avatar character. Furthermore the ability to share this with others by making it a profile pictures on facebook, twitter etc widened who was exposed to the content.  The website was sponsored by Coca-Cola, and special bottles and cans of the drinks allowed users to interact with 3D features on the website using augmented reality technology when these drinks were held in front of a webcam. This allowed immersion and escape from everyday life for its users, much like the film itself due to its extensive 3D graphics. There was also a quiz for users to see if they would be qualified to join Avatar's program, satisfying their needs for fun and relieve themselves of everyday stress.


The website was different to the boat that rocked one in the sense that it was interactive, it offered more than TBTR basic insight into the film with photos and a synopsis. Instead it presented this content in an exciting way as well as exciting new features. A video screen at the top shows the technology featured in the film in great detail such as the scorpions increasing the understanding of the film. The lack of interactivity and personalisation from the TBTR website meant the experience wasn't as immersive and involving to users so they were less likely to spend time on it and be intrigued to see the film. A key feature of avtr.com is that it is available in English, French, Spanish, German and Manderin showing that it a is a film intended for global success. On the other hand TBTR is exclusively in English highlighting the large contrast in the two films.
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It's not just about being viral but interactive/ pleasurable to audiences too. Thorough detail on this needed. Make sure you identify more specific interactive features of the website. This should be compared to TBTR official website to put it in perspective.