Starting a marketing campaign for a new movie or TV show isn’t an exact science but there are a couple of crucial elements that shouldn’t be forgotten. 1. Timing is EVERYTHING when it comes to any promotional campaign for movies & TV. You have to build up an incredible amount of hype in a tight time frame leading up to and during the launch of the film/TV show. 2. TV shows & movies are content goldmines-filled with awesome images, storylines & characters that will give you a huge edge when building an upcoming TV or film launch.
So how do you get started on marketing for a film and/or a TV show? Here are top 10 unique strategies, tips & creative ideas for an exceptional marketing campaign for your next movie or TV show.
- Create Something Memorable With A Publicity Event
In his popular best-selling book Purple Cow, renowned marketing guru Seth Godin (& one of my biggest inspirations of all time) makes a comment about how in order to be remarkable, you must include something worth noticing into your product, service or campaign. In other words, to get people talking about your campaign-and have it go viral-you have to DO something worth talking about.
Word of mouth is by far the most powerful form of marketing and in some ways, it can be the most memorable. The more people talk about your campaign, the more viral marketing works for you.
To help launch the film in the UK and celebrate the Year of the Sheep for Chinese New Year, Shaun the Sheep starred in two charity art trails in London and Bristol with larger than life sculptures of the famous sheep raising funds for children’s hospitals in the UK.
When Matt Groening & Co decided to finally bring The Simpsons to the big screen, they converted several 7-Elevens across the US and even in Canada into Kwik-E-Marts selling items like Squishees and donuts & propelled their publicity campaign into legendary status almost overnight. Do something remarkable.
- Pre-Roll Video Advertising
What’s pre-roll advertising? In a nutshell, it’s a short teaser trailer that will appear before related YouTube videos or IMDB videos that has a call-to-action at the end of the clip. Entice viewers to click through to the website to watch the full trailer, enter their email to win tickets or play a social game about the movie. It’s a great way to make your teaser trailer memorable.
- Open Up Your Press Events
This one might seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people still continue to rely on mainstream media outlets & critics for their coverage. But by opening up your press event to influential bloggers and fans, or better yet, having several smaller press events in different regions, there is HUGE potential to have your film/TV show gain viral coverage & you could also run a contest in conjunction with the event to have fans enter to meet the cast.
- Allow Your Audience to Experience The Story
To help promote Christopher Nolan’s 2009 mind-bending action thriller Inception, Warner Brothers created a virtual game ‘Mind Crime’ playing on the movie’s tagline “your mind is the scene of the crime” and allowing users to develop their own dream worlds/mazes & move within them.
The virtual game allowed users to not only build and move within their own dream landscapes and even introduced the repercussions of having a mind’s defences attack you-just like the characters in the film experience. The game also integrated the ability for you to share your progress via Facebook, play mazes created by other fans & compete with each other on the leader board, helping to spread the word about the movie virally.
- Make Viewers A Part of the Film
In the 15 months leading up to the launch of second film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy; Warner Brothers created a 360° immersive experience recruiting over 11 million people in 75 countries to become citizens of Gotham. These fans fueled the rise of the Joker as henchmen, campaigned for Harvey Dent to get elected as District Attorney, and even took the law into their own hands by becoming copycat Batman vigilantes. From calling phone numbers written in the sky to hunting down GPS coordinates to find mobile phones baked inside of birthday cakes, “Why So Serious?” generated an enormous amount of buzz for the film.
- Use More Niche Social Media Platforms Such as Periscope, Pinterest & Instagram
Even though Facebook & Twitter is most certainly at the heart of most social media strategy, that doesn’t mean you should avoid smaller platforms like Periscope, Instagram & Pinterest. You can still create some really innovative marketing campaigns, but the trick is knowing how to use them.
The annual Toronto Silent Film Festival (TSFF) has used Instagram in some ingenious ways in its annual campaign to help promote the festival. They’ve used the platform to previously create flip book trailers of all the films and a time machine timeline celebrating the career of the great Charlie Chaplin.
For 2015, they turned their entire Instagram account into a portal that allows viewers to ‘choose their own’ silent film adventure. Each 15-second video offers viewers a choice on the journey they want to take.
- Use Social Contests & Quizzes
While this idea isn’t exactly new, it never fails to drum up buzz and it’s a good balance of low risk and high reward. As long as you get the reward right, people will definitely want to share the quiz with their friends.
It also never hurts to offer a large incentive for people to invite their friends to join, such as giving them 5 more contest entries for each friend they invite and 5 more if that friend actually takes the quiz.
- Persona Marketing
Every movie and TV show undoubtedly has a character that fans love (or love to hate) and many a campaign has very intelligently played on the audience’s love/hate for the character by creating a persona for the character via social media.
The character of Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Band Theory is a great example. With just over 525,000 fans on Twitter, every single of Sheldon’s quips has the potential to reach thousands of fans, generating hundreds of re-tweets, favorites & comments. It’s great free marketing for the show.
- IMDB Listings & Advertising
With millions of people daily looking for information on new TV shows & movies to watch, it’s vital to get your TV show or movie listed on IMDB ASAP.
Be as comprehensive as possible when you fill out the listing for your project. IMDB is a search engine driven by relevance & popularity so the more info you have on your listing; the increase in likelihood that people will find your TV show or film.
- Utilizing Memes & Other UGC Content
Memes are a great way to leverage your audience’s creativity to build content that’s highly shareable that subtly promotes your movie or TV show. The benefits of memes are that they are incredibly customizable, easy to share and take literally no time to produce.
A Google search of “Game of Thrones” memes returned over 2.5 million results. You can also put together caption contests and fan art as user generated content to leverage your audience’s creativity and collective sharing power.
Want more publicity ideas for your next TV show or movie? Stay tuned for our upcoming post on the Top 6 Most Badass Publicity Campaigns of all time!