Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Millions of viewers to Sunday's NFL playoff broadcasts were given the rare treat of witnessing a revolution in the film industry's use of social media promotions. A 30-second spot for Broken City, the upcoming film starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, used a tactic rarely seen by audiences up to that point. Instead of splicing intriguing one-liners and brief action scenes with quotes and ratings from industry critics, tweets from sneak preview audiences were used. Gone are the days of "Entertainment Weekly gives it 4 stars," and in is the era of "@emmadonnachie thinks Mark Wahlberg is absolutely amazing."
It is a bold strategy for distributor 20th Century Fox, surely, but will viewers actually buy into it? A film critic's thoughts, depending on their news source, have always been used as a source of credibility. This new Twitter approach is building off of the assumption that television views hold the opinions of their peers in the same high regard. The issue with this theory is that users like @ryleeann12 and @GypsyLullaby7 are not necessarily all of our peers. Twitter works for stars and celebrities in engaging with their followers but, outside of that, social media is largely used for our personal networks. My network is nothing like yours, just like your social network is unique to you as an individual.
It will be very difficult to read box office reports after Broken City's January 18 release to see if this promotion made a difference, but we have to at least give the promoters props for their bold new approach in engaging audience members and creating some buzz. But don't take this author's word for it, check out the commercial below and form your own opinion...
This could be a one-time experiment, or it could be the future of entertainment promotion. To see what else industry experts see for the future of marketing, check out Inspired Marketing Predictions for 2013.