We have learned over the past few years that there is no exact science to film marketing, particularly within the online realm. Hollywood studios have developed any number of different campaigns using social networks and alternate reality games that have lead to astounding success and abject failure. Writer and marketing pro Chris Thilk of MovieMarketingMadness.com has written an intriguing editorial over at AdvertisingAge that expresses five things he wishes to see from Hollywood when it comes to marketing films this year. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
Thilk opines with some interesting thoughts on the possible future of home video releases, and ways for studios to better capitalize on post festival buzz, but I found his thoughts on alternate reality games particularly interesting:
“To continue being effective, alternate reality games will need to not only evolve but also stay novel, a tough trick to pull off. The game for “Tron: Legacy,” one of the biggest such efforts since 2008’s campaign for “The Dark Knight,” bridged the first “Tron” and its sequel by filling in the mythology of the intervening 28 years.
Bouncing between the online and offline worlds, these kinds of ARGs keep people not only checking online for the next clue but also getting active in the real world, which lends itself to spreading significant word of mouth.
But there probably aren’t many avenues of innovation left here, so delivering something novel will get harder and harder. Here’s one counter-intuitive idea: Drastically reduce the scale, creating games in which only a handful of people can participate — meaning the Unfiction forum team won’t be able to crowdsource the answers in half a heartbeat.”
While I think there remains a lot of potential for the sort of offline “events” we saw from Tron: Legacy and The Dark Knight in recent years, I agree with Thilk that it would be interesting to see a more inclusive alternate reality game take shape. I’m not sure if it would garner the same attention a widespread viral would normally achieve, but it would offer an innovative twist in this evolving marketing form.
How do you see the viral campaigns shaping up this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!