Generating buzz, Hollywood style


The global box office revenue in 2016 was reported at around $40Billion.  Apart from production related costs, the industry invests significant amount of money behind promoting the movies.  It’s reported that promotion budget for an independent movie can be around $20million while for a major studio release it can go upto $150million.  These numbers are comparable to major brands’ annual marketing budgets, in key markets.  Movie promotions are short-term result oriented and the success is measured in terms of box office numbers.   Marketing techniques used to generate buzz before a movie launch can provide inspiration while developing new brand launch strategies.

Publicity stunt:

It was revealed that a ‘clown rally’ against It (the movie) was a staged event to promote the film.  It caught the attention of the public which eventually resulted in a good opening weekend.  A new product can orchestrate a publicity stunt to generate intrigue and if it can involve actual consumers or even regular public – the impact will last longer.

Seamless social media experience:

Whether it’s an interactive FB page, a specific twitter handle, a dedicated YouTube channel with a pre-planned video series of teasers and reveals – ensure there is uniformity in tone/style.  Recent promotion of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is a good example of a well-planned and executed social media campaign that generated the highest social media buzz in recent times. The Great Gatsby’s promotion on Instagram with ‘old style’ filters is another example of using a platform by playing on its strengths.

Celebrity/brand ambassador/persona marketing:

In movie promotions, these come as part of the package.  But it’s a proven way to create pre-launch buzz.  But care must be taken to ensure a perfect match between the personality/celebrity and the brand in terms of values.  Wrong choice of celebrity can have an adverse or even opposite effect.

Using UGC:

Another area that needs to be treaded carefully.  The gains are immense if it plays out well and the involvement from consumers is well managed.  One way to safeguard against any unfavourable content is to have pre-agreed guidelines.

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Vipul Jadhav

About the Author Vipul Jadhav

Vipul Jadhav is the director of client services at Centric DXB. He provides both strategic and tactical leadership across multimillion dirham engagements while keeping up-to-date on daily project activities. Aspiring clients can reach him on [email protected]