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Marketing and promoting superhero films



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Marketing and promoting superhero films

  1. 1. MARKETING AND PROMOTING SUPERHERO FILMS REMEMBER: about HALF the budget of a major Hollywood blockbuster is dedicated to marketing and promotion – and the budget for Thor: Dark World was $170,000,000; The Avengers cost $220,000,000; The Dark Knight Rises cost $250,000,000. These films have, by and large, between tremendously successful at the box office, but they are made by major multi-media conglomerates. If a major film failed, the debt could be minimised or even wiped out by other successes e.g. the Lone Ranger did poorly at the box office, but it was released by Disney, who have many other successful parts of the business, including other movies – Disney now owns Marvel Comics and has the rights to several of their characters and The Avengers and Captain America were enormous successes.
  2. 2. • In the dim and distant past, movies would be promoted by trailers (cinema/TV/radio) • Interviews arranged by the film company’s PR department – printed media, including newspapers and specialist film or sci-fi magazines AND television (news magazine programmes and specialist film programmes) • Posters – adverts in magazines, billboards etc. • Tie-ins – examples of synergy/promotional partners e.g. dinosaur toys at McDonalds or Burger King for The Lost World. • All these are still important, but digital marketing has risen in prominence. • Film websites act as a hub for a variety of promotional materials, including games, interviews, trailers, links to various products. • Films have official social networking sites and their links are prominent on posters, trailers and the website.
  3. 3. • Bigger films can afford more than one website, a series of trailers and a complex poster campaign, sometimes featuring one character per poster. • Trailers are often released on YouTube – and can be re-blogged/reposted by fans – this is an example of viral marketing • Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages.
  4. 4. SYNERGY – KEY TERM • Synergy - where separate entities 'feed off each other', producing more together than they could do separately. The most quoted example has often been the link between the games industry and the film industry with the film and the videogame effectively promoting each other.
  5. 5. • SYNERGY is the promotion and sale of a product (and all its versions) throughout the various subsidiaries of a media conglomerate e.g. films, soundtracks or video games. Walt Disney pioneered synergistic marketing techniques in the 1930s by granting dozens of firms the right to use his Mickey Mouse character in products and ads, and continued to market Disney media through licensing arrangements. These products can help advertise the film itself and thus help to increase the film's sales. For example, for the first Spider- Man film, the soundtrack consisted of artists signed to Sony- Columbia, which would effectively promote the artists, the movie and, ultimately, increase revenue for Sony. The video for the theme song, by Chad Kroeger, featured scenes from the movie, thus promoting it. Although Kroeger's band, Nickelback, are signed to the independent Road Runner Records, it is actually owned by Sony-Columbia! At the time, Sony even co-owned its own cinema chain in which to show its films; although this is no longer the case, the company has struck a deal with cinema chain AMC, the second largest in North America, to install its digital cameras in all of its screens.
  6. 6. Soundtracks • A great example of synergy. You go to see the movie, like the music and want to buy the soundtrack; you hear the songs on the radio and want to see the movie AND buy the soundtrack. • Sometimes, you can buy the actual soundtrack as well as a set of songs inspired by the movie. • In 2004, for the original Spider-Man, there was the Danny Elfmann soundtrack AND another release that had songs inspired by the movie. Both were released on Columbia records, a subsidiary of Sony-Columbia, which produced the film. Many of the artists were signed to Columbia (some, via ‘independent’ labels) so anyone liking what they heard might be tempted to buy other music by those artists – and, in this case, the profit would all go the parent company, Sony-Columbia. This is a great example of in- house synergy but in many cases, deals have to be cut with other companies.
  7. 7. • One of the items teased at the September 2007 All Candy Expo was the series of The Dark Knight (Batman) tie in products. As the Indiana Jones Mars products (Mint Crisp M&Ms & Snickers Adventure Bar) found their way onto the shelves about 6-8 weeks in advance of the movie release.
  8. 8. • Nokia has created a run of limited edition Lumia 800 handsets to tie in with Christopher Nolan's next Batman blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises. • Journalists were shown six minutes of the forthcoming Batman epic at a media event in London yesterday, where they were also given the chance to see Nokia's batphone in the flesh. • Now before you get your hopes up, just 40 of the bodacious blowers have been produced. The handset is essentially a Lumia 800 with a Dark Knight logo carved into the rear, but that's one badass symbol of macho, and anyone lucky enough to receive one will no doubt be the envy of batfans round the world.
  9. 9. • The Dark Knight Rises app for Windows Phone is available to all Lumia handsets. We last looked at the recently released app back when UK retailer Phones 4u announced availability of the limited edition Batman The Dark Knight Rises Lumia 900. Should you not be able to pick up the special Lumia 900, but own a Lumia Windows Phone, don't fear as you can download the app and enjoy the experience. • What's included in the app? Trailers, wallpapers and ringtones, as well as a countdown to when the film is set to premier. Coupled with the counter, the app displays the nearest theatres that will be showing the title, using the location of the user. Directions to theatres are available on- hand so it requires little effort to get planning for the big day. • Should you login and connect to your Foursquare account, you get to choose your side (Batman or Bane) and play a Foursquare-based mini-game titled Claim Gotham City. A map is presented to the user that enables locations to be taken over by either side (checking in), earning points and exclusive content. As well as taking over locations on your own, joint attacks can be performed with other players. It's a fun twist.
  10. 10. The Dark Knight Rises Based on existing graphic novel, Prey, When the movie was released, an official novelisation by Greg Cox was published. Of course, Batman is a long running comics franchise with several existing comic books that serve to cross promote each other and the movie, even without the tie in.
  11. 11. • Diesel Batman & Bane Watches For The Dark Knight Rises • If the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso for the Dark Knight Rises didn't inspire you, maybe this set of Batman and Bane watches from Diesel will. While the watches aren't going to be available while the movie is still in theaters... Batman and The Dark Knight Rises fans will be able to get their hands on these watches in November of 2012. • What are they? Diesel specially created these two limited edition watches to go with the look of hero Batman or villain Bane. Based on the brand's SBA collection of watches (that actually stands for "Super Bad Ass"), the Diesel Bane or Batman Dark Knight Rises watches are a fun and functional accessory to the movie. • The watches are quite large, but that works for the design. The Batman and Bane watches are 56.5mm wide and 45.4mm tall. The cases are colored and coated steel, with colors to match Batman's suit or Bane's outfit. The watches contain a quartz chronograph movement with the date. A cool extra feature is a switch that activates two LED lights to illuminate the dial in the dark. The lights are hidden under the raised hour marker ring.
  12. 12. • Detailing on the case and dial is special for each of the two watches, while the Batman version has the bat logo on the dial, and the Bane watch just says "Bane" on the dial. You'll see that there will be special The Dark Knight Rises engravings on the rear of the timepieces with portraits of the characters as well. • The black Batman version of the Diesel watch comes with a specially textured rubber strap that emulates the look of the Bat suit. You'll see that the dial is "phantom style" with black on black colors - though it is still legible. The Bane watch has a riveted brown leather strap to go with... what ever it was that he was wearing (bullet proof vest combined with a airplane jump harness?) in the movie. • While you can't buy the Diesel Batman and Bane watches for The Dark Knight Rises until November of 2012, you can pre- order them now. The watches are $325 each, and are exclusively available for pre-order here via As a limited edition watch only a specific amount will be produced, however Diesel has not indicated how many they are producing yet. Overall really cool and a great tie-in to the Batman movie characters.
  13. 13. • ‘Biggest ever’ brand push for Dark Knight Rises • Wed, 27 Jun 2012 | By Sebastian Joseph • Warner Bros UK has outlined what it describes as its “most extensive” promotional campaign to date as it looks to boost excitement for the release of its eagerly awaited movie, The Dark Knight Rises. • The film, which opens in UK cinemas next month (20 July), is being supported by promotional activity from the largest roster of brands the studio has ever assembled for a national release. • Pizza Hut Delivery and No Fear energy drink are the latest brands to sign up. Both will offer fans the chance to win prizes such as a Lamborghini and trips to LA And New York. • The promotions will run throughout the summer and will also include a national TV and print campaign as well as POS support in stores. • Other brands involved include French Connection UK, Nokia and Nissan (see below). • Danni Murray, director of media and marketing partnerships at Warner Bros UK, says the campaign for The Dark Knight Rises marks the latest iteration of the studio’s marketing strategy that aims engage fans throughout a film’s life cycle - cinema through to DVD and other format releases - an not just around its theatrical release. • He adds: “We’re fortunate to be working with a raft of big name brands and their agencies, with whom we have created a range of really innovative and impactful partnership campaigns that integrate perfectly with the rest of The Dark Knight Rises marketing activity.” • Brand activity is part of wider marketing push for the film that includes TV, outdoor and press adverts as well as an ongoing viral campaign that provides further detail on the film’s characters.
  14. 14. • Promotional partnerships for The Dark Knight Rises: • Nissan UK - working with Warner Bros for the first time, the car marquee has built a campaign around its Juke model. It includes a major print campaign with artwork designed in collaboration with Gabriel Hardman - The Dark Knight Rises official storyboard artist. • Toshiba Electronics - the company is running a six week campaign to win tickets to the European premier of the movie in London. • Nokia - the only global partner on the UK roster is using the release to support the launch of its Lumia 900 smarthpone. The device will come packed with move content on a pre-installed handset. A further 900 limited edition versions of the handset will carry bespoke Dark Knight Rises branding. • French Connection UK - is selling limited edition TV shirts across 70 stores nationwide. All participating stores will feature props from the movie. • Mars - Consumers can purchase the first two films in the Dark Knight trilogy with family size pouches of their confectionery. • Armani - the Italian fashion house is supplying clothes for the actors to wear during various promotional events for the film.
  15. 15. • The Dark Knight and Nissan • Nissan recently launched an augmented reality press campaign to promote its partnership with the upcoming Batman film. Nissan have even connected with the film artist having their press ad designed by illustrator Gabriel Hardman, who developed the storyboards for the film. To promote the Nissan Juke they use the strapline: “the year’s most thrilling car, Inspired by the year’s most thrilling film.” • QA •
  16. 16. The Dark Knight and Lego • Lego is one of many brand partnerships negotiated to create awareness and drive interest and sales in the new Batman film opening July 20-27. • Batman and Lego is a very cool partnership. Lego have recreated the extended film trailer using entirely lego characters which is not only very creative but must have taken forever to do. • • This way kids can play with The Dark Knight in Lego-land (Gotham City to the Dark Knight) long after the legend finishes this version in cinemas. • Because the Lego Movie was made by Warner Brothers, the company who made The Dark Knight films and who own DC Comics, publisher of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman etc, these characters appeared as yet another example of synergy.
  17. 17. Film Magazines – tend to operate on reveal/preview/review basis. Interviews will be arranged by the film company’s PR department, which will supply various kinds of promotional materials. In an attempt to sell more copies, they can produce alternate covers – Empire did this with X-Men: Days of Future Past, for example.
  18. 18. Posters Teaser poster for Spider-Man Because superhero films are big budget franchises produced by major media conglomerates, they can afford huge publicity campaigns involving numerous posters, including teaser posters released months in advance to whet the appettite of the audience. Here’s a summation of the poster campaign for Thor:
  19. 19. Trailers – include teaser trailers, released months in advance • Teaser trailer for The Avengers: Age of Ultron – note how very little is given away – except for the appearance of Ultron’s ‘face’: • YJHQ • Teaser trailer for Iron Man 3: • VKQo
  20. 20. • Sometimes a series of official trailers are produced; here are two for Thor: The Dark World: • • • Here’s the extended trailer: • 4 • There were also TV spots: • 8 • Some trailers are specially produced for big events – here’s one of the Iron Man 3 trailers placed during the Superbowl: •
  21. 21. While the games are tie-ins, they also have their own trailer campaigns • Thor: The Dark World game trailer 1: _VOs • Trailer 2: aQihQ
  22. 22. • The Marvel movies associated with The Avengers were synergistic in that they cross- promoted each other AND The Avengers movies and on top of that, after the credits at the end of each film, there was a hint as to what was going to happen in the next film in that franchise. • And don’t forget… long after the movie has finished in the cinema, the DVD and BluRay will still be available