Entertainment is one of the few industries where audiences are constantly searching for their advertisements. With social media always available, there is a large and active community of fans hungry to dive into the world of upcoming releases and willing to share the marketing campaign as an expression of their own excitement and creative taste.
But amid the explosion of content in movies, series, and games, trailers and screengrab memes can only get you so far. How do you clear the clutter and keep people engaged to launch and beyond?
The following approaches show how original creative and customized shoots can rejuvenate traditional marketing beats and add entertainment value to your campaign, whatever your schedule and budget.
Increase in EPC
Anyone who’s shot an interview or edited a featurette knows that what ends up being hours of wasted footage of bored talent answering general questions about their “prep for the role.” Unless they gained 75 pounds, learned a new language, and lived with wolves for three months, the answer isn’t very exciting.
A better approach? Edit your interviews. Work with your strategy, PR, and marketing teams to determine which talent prospects resonate with fans, and let your creative partners come up with the most fun and visual ways to bring them to life. This can often be done within the same timelines and budgets you already have set aside for a title.
For example, you can gamify the interview, like Wired’s Autocomplete series, which inserts a fun hook that reflects their tech-centric brand. Or you can photograph it stylistically, like British Vogue, which expresses their brand’s POV in terms of fashion and is always appealing, regardless of the celebrity.
Original content series
Creating original series that emphasize different titles or themes over time is a great example of marketing as entertainment. Instead of looking for placement outside of your own brand ecosystem, you can create and own a digital series as part of an ongoing content strategy.
Branded digital series like Architectural Digest’s Celebrity Home Tours or the independent series Hot Ones can attract millions of viewers in a day. Netflix’s social channels are capitalizing on the appeal of their talent with games like Charm Battle. And Focus Features showcases the art and craft of filmmaking with her travel series Reel Destinations, with host Alicia Malone touring the locations of her upcoming and past films. While more production-intensive, this series resonates with Focus’ cinefile audience and racks up millions of views across their social channels.
No matter the content, platform, or budget you have to work with, if the idea stems from real insights into what your audience loves, your trailer or magazine cover will help you find (and keep) people who miss you .
Conceiving and shooting a custom teaser takes the idea of marketing as entertainment literally by creating original short films based on a film or series. Having worked with FX on their show launches for decades, we’ve seen firsthand how they’ve elevated this approach to an art form, releasing teaser campaigns before the release of the trailer of a show characterized by a unique, provocative and… cinematic visual identity are united.
This approach can serve many purposes: Introducing a hot new ensemble cast with a stylish, bespoke spot (HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot); reigniting the flagging enthusiasm of longtime fans by teasing a new premise (AMC’s The Walking Dead S10); expressing a brand’s voice for a special event (The Ultimate Couch Campaign by FXX); or to protect fans from spoilers and create maximum hype, hold back as much as possible. (Judging by the comments, this custom NOPE teaser starring Steph Curry did just that.)
While a single custom teaser can be prohibitively expensive, it’s important to see how a shoot can benefit an entire campaign. Even a one-day shoot, properly planned, can result in not just a custom teaser, but a whole toolkit of assets united under one visual idea for use in social, digital OOH, design packs, featurettes and even show main titles. like our campaign for Pretty Little Liars.
In short, being modular creates the biggest bang on your budget.
Fans are loyal, but they can also be… fanatical and critical of even the smallest creative misstep. If Marvel fans can complain about a movie’s multi-million dollar VFX, they’re bound to spot a bad matte job on your EPK’s green screen.
Investing in high-quality, cinematic creative shooting not only captures the attention of discerning fans amidst a wealth of content, but also allows for the seamless integration of custom footage with clips from the show or film itself, blurring the line between marketing and content. It also earns the respect and interest of filmmakers and talent, who are excited to share the campaign on their social channels, which in turn strengthens marketing teams’ relationships with the talent driving their brand.
With proper planning, a campaign that includes original content, even on a small budget, can yield a far more robust, unique, and effective campaign that unifies creativity across platforms while engaging fans with conversation-worthy content that they naturally share with others.