Wednesday, 15 December 2010

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and 1960s music suggest that it is aimed at people in their 60s, as they would remember the time and understand all the historical references.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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