Wednesday, 15 December 2010

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


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. 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.

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