Oct 22, 2019
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Headline, Industry News

Film and TV execs court fickle eyeballs with marketing stunts, touring showcases

TORONTO - Gone are the days when a loyal TV viewer would turn the dial to a stalwart network like CBS and settle in for the evening.

Rare, too, is the film fan with a standing date to catch a big theatrical release on opening day.

And so it goes that comic Patton Oswalt recently found himself on a cross-country tour to pitch his new film “Young Adult” directly to movie-goers along with actress Charlize Theron and director Jason Reitman, theatre by theatre, town by town.

“I want people to discover this movie … just with sort of a blank brain, rather than me putting any ideas into their heads right now,” Oswalt says of the promotional strategy, which had the offbeat feature skipping the more usual festival circuit in favour of secret screenings with average viewers.

“And just show them that, ‘Hey, I’m excited about this, we’re excited about this.'”

The touring showcase – which hit cities including San Francisco, Toronto, Austin and Minneapolis – was akin to CTV’s summertime decision to push their fall lineup by setting up airplane-shaped screening rooms in shopping malls across Canada staffed with look-alike “Pan Am” flight attendants who invited mallrats to catch an early glimpse of rookie shows including “Pan Am,” “X Factor” and “Grimm.”

CTV marketing honcho Rick Lewchuk says the aggressive campaign was unusual but necessary to highlight a programming slate in an increasingly competitive entertainment field.

“If you don’t go the extra effort and you don’t do those extra things then you’re just kind of doing what everybody else is doing,” says Lewchuk, senior vice president of Bell Media Agency, CTV’s in-house marketing and promotions division.

“They’re time consuming, they’re a little bit more work, but they’re fun and I think the viewers appreciate it.”

Film and TV marketers have been getting especially creative in their attempts to lure eyeballs in their direction, resorting to publicity stunts that seem to rely more and more on reaching out to viewers directly with on-the-street campaigns.

Stunts in 2011 included a flash mob in Toronto meant to promote the big-budget sci-fi spectacle “Green Lantern” and a pack of dog-suited actors that was sent wandering the city’s subway system and streetcar line to promote the arrival of FX Canada and its flagship sitcom, “Wilfred.”

Marketing guru Mike Vollman says hitting the road with a movie and its cast is nothing new, but he acknowledges that out-of-the box tactics are a sign of the times.

“It’s certainly harder to find the audiences — everyone is super-distracted, everybody I know spends their entire day with their head buried into an electronic device,” says Vollman, an L.A.-based consultant with 20 years experience working with Disney, DreamWorks, Paramount and MGM.

“That has also made it super-hard to get a hold of people but that doesn’t mean a flash mob is going to make you see ‘Green Lantern.'”

Lewchuk says bold, unusual stunts can at least get an audience to sit up and pay attention, and that’s a good thing.

“A lot of it comes down to basic psychology — people either learn visually, they learn through audio or they’re tactile learners, they like to touch things to learn,” says Lewchuk.

“And the tactile experience of having people be able to come in and interact with things, it’s just another different way of reaching people.”

He says marketing budgets have declined overall for CTV and sister stations including MuchMusic, Bravo and The Comedy Network, but that Bell Media is spending more on individual projects such as the “Pan Am” campaign. That promotion exceeded the nearly $1 million budget normally assigned to market an average show, he says.

“We could have done a cheaper screening experience for ‘Pan Am’ but we went to the expense of building and shipping across the country that plane,” he notes. “There were cheaper ways to do it but you want to always give people a quality experience.”

Meanwhile, a more modest tour is in the works to augment CBC-TV’s promotion plans for “Mr. D,” an upcoming sitcom created by Canadian comic Gerry Dee and inspired by his days as a school teacher.

Dee says he’s launching his own standup tour at about the same time his show debuts Jan. 9 to spread the word as far as possible.

“You do your due diligence and why wouldn’t I? I have a following,” says Dee, who also appears on The Score.

“Being able to promote it is helpful for me, I’m lucky that I’m in a situation that I have a bit of a fanbase already and I’m going to take advantage of that.”

It’s not unusual for a big movie studio to spend $60 to $75 million to launch a blockbuster over the Christmas holidays, but getting the word out doesn’t have to break the bank, says indie filmmaker Jason Eisener.

The East Coast director made great use of the Internet to build buzz and an eager fanbase for his debut “Hobo With a Shotgun,” and suggests the DIY spirit of emerging filmmakers has influenced the way big studios are courting audiences.

“I love that side of it, I love promoting a film and I always try to be involved with everything from the marketing, from helping to get the poster designs out to getting webisodes out there and just doing as much as possible to get an audience to be involved with your film,” says Eisener, who stoked his fanbase with constant video blogs and giveaways.

If there’s a trend afoot, Lewchuk suggests it’s one that’s moving away from trying to make anything go viral online. He says it’s far too difficult to force something to become an Internet sensation.

“If you’re doing a flash mob so that it goes viral I think you’re beating your head against the wall,” he says.

“There’s so much stuff out there now that it’s just too thick in the forest to be able to move. You need to do concepts that stand on their own, that will be successful because of what they are and not because they went viral.”

At its core, grassroots campaigns that give average Joes an insider look at show business are meant to build buzz and start water cooler conversations that spiral into a movement.

After all, old-fashioned word-of-mouth has always been and continues to be one of the best ways to snag a viewer, says Vollman.

The problem is that word-of-mouth chatter seems to skew “overwhelmingly negative” in recent years, Vollman argues, wondering if the crowded entertainment landscape has made people more critical of how they spend their leisure time.

“More often than not you hear the negative side of stuff,” says Vollman, currently a consultant for DreamWorks.

“As we’ve all been exposed to more and more and more and more sources it is harder and harder and harder to generate good buzz on something.”

But even when buzz is good, it can still be hard to spark an audience, says film and TV producer Niv Fichman. He says one of his New Year’s resolutions is to build a broad audience for his acclaimed but flagging CBC series, “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Our strategy is to be kind of slightly irreverent,” says Fichman, whose film ventures include the First World War epic “Passchendaele” and the indie grindhouse flick “Hobo With a Shotgun.”

“Our tagline was ‘The best show nobody’s watching,’ and now we’ve kind of made it ‘The best show almost nobody’s watching.’ That was our kind of little joke at ourselves. But we’ve been posting fan reactions (online), we’ve been trying to be as irreverent as possible because we think the demo is younger than the CBC thinks it is.”

Lewchuk says the pressure is always on to keep promotions new and fresh.

“We’re brainstorming now about what we’re going to do for the launch of ‘Smash’ in February,” he says, referring to the Debra Messing drama about the behind-the-scenes operations of a Broadway musical, debuting in February.

“That’s another (show) around the theatre community, maybe there’s something that will click there and we’ll find a unique idea to do that. But you can’t force the idea — you have to let the creative of the program you’re trying to promote really kind of drive what you’re doing.”

Oswalt says he’s impressed with the touring campaign for “Young Adult,” which hits theatres Dec. 16. He says it’s uniquely suited to the off-kilter story about a morally bereft ghost writer whose best days are behind her.

“It’s one of those strategies where the people that are promoting it actually sat down and watched the movie and have some very specific emotional opinions about it,” Oswalt says.

“I like when people that are involved in promoting a movie … actually think about that process as creatively as the director thought about it when they made the movie.

“I think that promotion can be an art and they really … care about how to present a difficult film like this. That’s exciting to see.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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Headline, Industry News

Film and TV execs court fickle eyeballs with marketing stunts, touring showcases

TORONTO - Gone are the days when a loyal TV viewer would turn the dial to a stalwart network like CBS and settle in for the evening.

Rare, too, is the film fan with a standing date to catch a big theatrical release on opening day.

And so it goes that comic Patton Oswalt recently found himself on a cross-country tour to pitch his new film “Young Adult” directly to movie-goers along with actress Charlize Theron and director Jason Reitman, theatre by theatre, town by town.

“I want people to discover this movie … just with sort of a blank brain, rather than me putting any ideas into their heads right now,” Oswalt says of the promotional strategy, which had the offbeat feature skipping the more usual festival circuit in favour of secret screenings with average viewers.

“And just show them that, ‘Hey, I’m excited about this, we’re excited about this.'”

The touring showcase – which hit cities including San Francisco, Toronto, Austin and Minneapolis – was akin to CTV’s summertime decision to push their fall lineup by setting up airplane-shaped screening rooms in shopping malls across Canada staffed with look-alike “Pan Am” flight attendants who invited mallrats to catch an early glimpse of rookie shows including “Pan Am,” “X Factor” and “Grimm.”

CTV marketing honcho Rick Lewchuk says the aggressive campaign was unusual but necessary to highlight a programming slate in an increasingly competitive entertainment field.

“If you don’t go the extra effort and you don’t do those extra things then you’re just kind of doing what everybody else is doing,” says Lewchuk, senior vice president of Bell Media Agency, CTV’s in-house marketing and promotions division.

“They’re time consuming, they’re a little bit more work, but they’re fun and I think the viewers appreciate it.”

Film and TV marketers have been getting especially creative in their attempts to lure eyeballs in their direction, resorting to publicity stunts that seem to rely more and more on reaching out to viewers directly with on-the-street campaigns.

Stunts in 2011 included a flash mob in Toronto meant to promote the big-budget sci-fi spectacle “Green Lantern” and a pack of dog-suited actors that was sent wandering the city’s subway system and streetcar line to promote the arrival of FX Canada and its flagship sitcom, “Wilfred.”

Marketing guru Mike Vollman says hitting the road with a movie and its cast is nothing new, but he acknowledges that out-of-the box tactics are a sign of the times.

“It’s certainly harder to find the audiences — everyone is super-distracted, everybody I know spends their entire day with their head buried into an electronic device,” says Vollman, an L.A.-based consultant with 20 years experience working with Disney, DreamWorks, Paramount and MGM.

“That has also made it super-hard to get a hold of people but that doesn’t mean a flash mob is going to make you see ‘Green Lantern.'”

Lewchuk says bold, unusual stunts can at least get an audience to sit up and pay attention, and that’s a good thing.

“A lot of it comes down to basic psychology — people either learn visually, they learn through audio or they’re tactile learners, they like to touch things to learn,” says Lewchuk.

“And the tactile experience of having people be able to come in and interact with things, it’s just another different way of reaching people.”

He says marketing budgets have declined overall for CTV and sister stations including MuchMusic, Bravo and The Comedy Network, but that Bell Media is spending more on individual projects such as the “Pan Am” campaign. That promotion exceeded the nearly $1 million budget normally assigned to market an average show, he says.

“We could have done a cheaper screening experience for ‘Pan Am’ but we went to the expense of building and shipping across the country that plane,” he notes. “There were cheaper ways to do it but you want to always give people a quality experience.”

Meanwhile, a more modest tour is in the works to augment CBC-TV’s promotion plans for “Mr. D,” an upcoming sitcom created by Canadian comic Gerry Dee and inspired by his days as a school teacher.

Dee says he’s launching his own standup tour at about the same time his show debuts Jan. 9 to spread the word as far as possible.

“You do your due diligence and why wouldn’t I? I have a following,” says Dee, who also appears on The Score.

“Being able to promote it is helpful for me, I’m lucky that I’m in a situation that I have a bit of a fanbase already and I’m going to take advantage of that.”

It’s not unusual for a big movie studio to spend $60 to $75 million to launch a blockbuster over the Christmas holidays, but getting the word out doesn’t have to break the bank, says indie filmmaker Jason Eisener.

The East Coast director made great use of the Internet to build buzz and an eager fanbase for his debut “Hobo With a Shotgun,” and suggests the DIY spirit of emerging filmmakers has influenced the way big studios are courting audiences.

“I love that side of it, I love promoting a film and I always try to be involved with everything from the marketing, from helping to get the poster designs out to getting webisodes out there and just doing as much as possible to get an audience to be involved with your film,” says Eisener, who stoked his fanbase with constant video blogs and giveaways.

If there’s a trend afoot, Lewchuk suggests it’s one that’s moving away from trying to make anything go viral online. He says it’s far too difficult to force something to become an Internet sensation.

“If you’re doing a flash mob so that it goes viral I think you’re beating your head against the wall,” he says.

“There’s so much stuff out there now that it’s just too thick in the forest to be able to move. You need to do concepts that stand on their own, that will be successful because of what they are and not because they went viral.”

At its core, grassroots campaigns that give average Joes an insider look at show business are meant to build buzz and start water cooler conversations that spiral into a movement.

After all, old-fashioned word-of-mouth has always been and continues to be one of the best ways to snag a viewer, says Vollman.

The problem is that word-of-mouth chatter seems to skew “overwhelmingly negative” in recent years, Vollman argues, wondering if the crowded entertainment landscape has made people more critical of how they spend their leisure time.

“More often than not you hear the negative side of stuff,” says Vollman, currently a consultant for DreamWorks.

“As we’ve all been exposed to more and more and more and more sources it is harder and harder and harder to generate good buzz on something.”

But even when buzz is good, it can still be hard to spark an audience, says film and TV producer Niv Fichman. He says one of his New Year’s resolutions is to build a broad audience for his acclaimed but flagging CBC series, “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Our strategy is to be kind of slightly irreverent,” says Fichman, whose film ventures include the First World War epic “Passchendaele” and the indie grindhouse flick “Hobo With a Shotgun.”

“Our tagline was ‘The best show nobody’s watching,’ and now we’ve kind of made it ‘The best show almost nobody’s watching.’ That was our kind of little joke at ourselves. But we’ve been posting fan reactions (online), we’ve been trying to be as irreverent as possible because we think the demo is younger than the CBC thinks it is.”

Lewchuk says the pressure is always on to keep promotions new and fresh.

“We’re brainstorming now about what we’re going to do for the launch of ‘Smash’ in February,” he says, referring to the Debra Messing drama about the behind-the-scenes operations of a Broadway musical, debuting in February.

“That’s another (show) around the theatre community, maybe there’s something that will click there and we’ll find a unique idea to do that. But you can’t force the idea — you have to let the creative of the program you’re trying to promote really kind of drive what you’re doing.”

Oswalt says he’s impressed with the touring campaign for “Young Adult,” which hits theatres Dec. 16. He says it’s uniquely suited to the off-kilter story about a morally bereft ghost writer whose best days are behind her.

“It’s one of those strategies where the people that are promoting it actually sat down and watched the movie and have some very specific emotional opinions about it,” Oswalt says.

“I like when people that are involved in promoting a movie … actually think about that process as creatively as the director thought about it when they made the movie.

“I think that promotion can be an art and they really … care about how to present a difficult film like this. That’s exciting to see.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Headline, Industry News

Film and TV execs court fickle eyeballs with marketing stunts, touring showcases

TORONTO - Gone are the days when a loyal TV viewer would turn the dial to a stalwart network like CBS and settle in for the evening.

Rare, too, is the film fan with a standing date to catch a big theatrical release on opening day.

And so it goes that comic Patton Oswalt recently found himself on a cross-country tour to pitch his new film “Young Adult” directly to movie-goers along with actress Charlize Theron and director Jason Reitman, theatre by theatre, town by town.

“I want people to discover this movie … just with sort of a blank brain, rather than me putting any ideas into their heads right now,” Oswalt says of the promotional strategy, which had the offbeat feature skipping the more usual festival circuit in favour of secret screenings with average viewers.

“And just show them that, ‘Hey, I’m excited about this, we’re excited about this.'”

The touring showcase – which hit cities including San Francisco, Toronto, Austin and Minneapolis – was akin to CTV’s summertime decision to push their fall lineup by setting up airplane-shaped screening rooms in shopping malls across Canada staffed with look-alike “Pan Am” flight attendants who invited mallrats to catch an early glimpse of rookie shows including “Pan Am,” “X Factor” and “Grimm.”

CTV marketing honcho Rick Lewchuk says the aggressive campaign was unusual but necessary to highlight a programming slate in an increasingly competitive entertainment field.

“If you don’t go the extra effort and you don’t do those extra things then you’re just kind of doing what everybody else is doing,” says Lewchuk, senior vice president of Bell Media Agency, CTV’s in-house marketing and promotions division.

“They’re time consuming, they’re a little bit more work, but they’re fun and I think the viewers appreciate it.”

Film and TV marketers have been getting especially creative in their attempts to lure eyeballs in their direction, resorting to publicity stunts that seem to rely more and more on reaching out to viewers directly with on-the-street campaigns.

Stunts in 2011 included a flash mob in Toronto meant to promote the big-budget sci-fi spectacle “Green Lantern” and a pack of dog-suited actors that was sent wandering the city’s subway system and streetcar line to promote the arrival of FX Canada and its flagship sitcom, “Wilfred.”

Marketing guru Mike Vollman says hitting the road with a movie and its cast is nothing new, but he acknowledges that out-of-the box tactics are a sign of the times.

“It’s certainly harder to find the audiences — everyone is super-distracted, everybody I know spends their entire day with their head buried into an electronic device,” says Vollman, an L.A.-based consultant with 20 years experience working with Disney, DreamWorks, Paramount and MGM.

“That has also made it super-hard to get a hold of people but that doesn’t mean a flash mob is going to make you see ‘Green Lantern.'”

Lewchuk says bold, unusual stunts can at least get an audience to sit up and pay attention, and that’s a good thing.

“A lot of it comes down to basic psychology — people either learn visually, they learn through audio or they’re tactile learners, they like to touch things to learn,” says Lewchuk.

“And the tactile experience of having people be able to come in and interact with things, it’s just another different way of reaching people.”

He says marketing budgets have declined overall for CTV and sister stations including MuchMusic, Bravo and The Comedy Network, but that Bell Media is spending more on individual projects such as the “Pan Am” campaign. That promotion exceeded the nearly $1 million budget normally assigned to market an average show, he says.

“We could have done a cheaper screening experience for ‘Pan Am’ but we went to the expense of building and shipping across the country that plane,” he notes. “There were cheaper ways to do it but you want to always give people a quality experience.”

Meanwhile, a more modest tour is in the works to augment CBC-TV’s promotion plans for “Mr. D,” an upcoming sitcom created by Canadian comic Gerry Dee and inspired by his days as a school teacher.

Dee says he’s launching his own standup tour at about the same time his show debuts Jan. 9 to spread the word as far as possible.

“You do your due diligence and why wouldn’t I? I have a following,” says Dee, who also appears on The Score.

“Being able to promote it is helpful for me, I’m lucky that I’m in a situation that I have a bit of a fanbase already and I’m going to take advantage of that.”

It’s not unusual for a big movie studio to spend $60 to $75 million to launch a blockbuster over the Christmas holidays, but getting the word out doesn’t have to break the bank, says indie filmmaker Jason Eisener.

The East Coast director made great use of the Internet to build buzz and an eager fanbase for his debut “Hobo With a Shotgun,” and suggests the DIY spirit of emerging filmmakers has influenced the way big studios are courting audiences.

“I love that side of it, I love promoting a film and I always try to be involved with everything from the marketing, from helping to get the poster designs out to getting webisodes out there and just doing as much as possible to get an audience to be involved with your film,” says Eisener, who stoked his fanbase with constant video blogs and giveaways.

If there’s a trend afoot, Lewchuk suggests it’s one that’s moving away from trying to make anything go viral online. He says it’s far too difficult to force something to become an Internet sensation.

“If you’re doing a flash mob so that it goes viral I think you’re beating your head against the wall,” he says.

“There’s so much stuff out there now that it’s just too thick in the forest to be able to move. You need to do concepts that stand on their own, that will be successful because of what they are and not because they went viral.”

At its core, grassroots campaigns that give average Joes an insider look at show business are meant to build buzz and start water cooler conversations that spiral into a movement.

After all, old-fashioned word-of-mouth has always been and continues to be one of the best ways to snag a viewer, says Vollman.

The problem is that word-of-mouth chatter seems to skew “overwhelmingly negative” in recent years, Vollman argues, wondering if the crowded entertainment landscape has made people more critical of how they spend their leisure time.

“More often than not you hear the negative side of stuff,” says Vollman, currently a consultant for DreamWorks.

“As we’ve all been exposed to more and more and more and more sources it is harder and harder and harder to generate good buzz on something.”

But even when buzz is good, it can still be hard to spark an audience, says film and TV producer Niv Fichman. He says one of his New Year’s resolutions is to build a broad audience for his acclaimed but flagging CBC series, “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Our strategy is to be kind of slightly irreverent,” says Fichman, whose film ventures include the First World War epic “Passchendaele” and the indie grindhouse flick “Hobo With a Shotgun.”

“Our tagline was ‘The best show nobody’s watching,’ and now we’ve kind of made it ‘The best show almost nobody’s watching.’ That was our kind of little joke at ourselves. But we’ve been posting fan reactions (online), we’ve been trying to be as irreverent as possible because we think the demo is younger than the CBC thinks it is.”

Lewchuk says the pressure is always on to keep promotions new and fresh.

“We’re brainstorming now about what we’re going to do for the launch of ‘Smash’ in February,” he says, referring to the Debra Messing drama about the behind-the-scenes operations of a Broadway musical, debuting in February.

“That’s another (show) around the theatre community, maybe there’s something that will click there and we’ll find a unique idea to do that. But you can’t force the idea — you have to let the creative of the program you’re trying to promote really kind of drive what you’re doing.”

Oswalt says he’s impressed with the touring campaign for “Young Adult,” which hits theatres Dec. 16. He says it’s uniquely suited to the off-kilter story about a morally bereft ghost writer whose best days are behind her.

“It’s one of those strategies where the people that are promoting it actually sat down and watched the movie and have some very specific emotional opinions about it,” Oswalt says.

“I like when people that are involved in promoting a movie … actually think about that process as creatively as the director thought about it when they made the movie.

“I think that promotion can be an art and they really … care about how to present a difficult film like this. That’s exciting to see.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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