The phenomenal Twilight Saga continues with New Moon… in the weeks building up to its opening weekend it has gained massive amounts of attention and awareness. This is no surprise given the techniques they have adopted.
So how have they generated so much hype – and how can it be applied to an independent film?
The Producers and marketing team behind the saga have gone to great lengths to make the most of social media techniques, but have recognised the importance of offline PR techniques to provide interesting material to promote. Here are a few of the online techniques used:
Twitter – Twilight allowed, via their twitter feed, the opportunity to ask the actors directly questions about the movie. Once again proving that access is crucial to the success of the film.
@Twilight – Twilight by Summit Entertainment
@Peter Facinelli – Dr. Carlisle Cullen
@Billy Burke – Chief Swan
@Ashley Greene – Alice Cullen
iPhone Apps – Twilight clearly felt the need to create an iPhone Application. The concept was to encourage interaction with the fans, and that they would pay a small charge for the privilege – Peter Facinelli and Billy Burke built an App that provided an insight into the characters – biographies and so forth which gave additional background and depth to the film.
Facebook – By giving exclusive opportunities to their fans before the film launched and by providing unique interviews with the core cast, the production team allowed fans who were unable to meet the cast and crew in person to have an opportunity to find out more and get close to them through becoming a fan on Facebook. They opened up discussion forums and provided images to give some behind-the-scenes opportunities.
Red Carpet Live Stream – An online live stream from the red carpet showed the arrival of the stars from the film – they used ‘UStream’ which worked particularly well for this and generated record number of traffic. There’s no reason why independent filmmakers can’t do the same, with a little amount of effort… that said there needs to be awareness, which can be generated by some of the other techniques demonstrated here.
You Tube – Lots of imitation on You Tube of many of the of the ‘Twihards’. This was clever as the imitations themselves promote the film. It might just be possible to get some of the crew to do an imitation of the film they are working on for you and post it up on You Tube.
Meeting people in person – creating massive offline PR
The entire cast – this includes the werewolves and the Volturi (the organized coven of “royal” vampires) – are making appearances everywhere you can possibly imagine! This means that by meeting people in person, they are creating connections. These connections will equate to ticket and merchandise sales. In addition they conducted press conferences in Japan, Brazil and Mexico, to give a bit of worldwide spread to their publicity https://tipandroid.com/.
Of course there are many of the more traditional methods used to promote the movie. Trailers appeared prominently in cinemas and online months before the film was released and were made as soon as post-production started. Something definitely recommended by film marketers to bring the film to life and create interest.
All the usual ‘big brand’ accompaniments followed the launch of the film which naturally meant reaching all the big brand customers – AT&T ringtones for example are typical to generate hype and awareness.
Of course, this isn’t something that small independent film producers can do. But perhaps there might be local companies willing to support the production and promote it on the release – especially if they have a number of customers.
Twilight adopted several competitions. For example, the possibility to win a trip to Italy is one of the big opportunities being offered to brand’s customers through sweepstakes, and a hide-and-seek style participation to find clues to win the trip. Volvo offered the opportunity to win the car the Edward drives. We can’t do that – but you could win some of the props?!
Even without a big brand onboard this is something than could be viral and a small budget allowance could provide a great opportunity for promotion.
So most of these techniques are entirely possible to adopt on very little budget – it is simply a case of:
1. Go where the audience is
2. Drive them to something that they will find interesting
3. Create “Buzz” through both off-line and online PR
4. Content is King – create some!
5. Do it early – while you’re still in production or even before begin to promote your film.
6. Create a website to drive traffic
My recommended online tools are: Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, in addition to the new tool for film marketing, One Fat Cigar.com. For more on online promotion I recommend reading the following article which provides some detail on the techniques as to how to generate traffic online for your movie.