Selling the Magic

Marketing can be considered as the art of being able to sell mass-produced objects on a large scale. Consequently, the art of marketing, of creating advertisements able to entice people to buy precise items, was further developed. The cinema industry that grew at the beginning of the century also resorted to marketing to sell its films to the largest possible audience. According to John Caldwell, quoted by Daniel Steinhart, marketing can be “viewed as a quintessential form of industrial self-representation.” Film industry has specific characteristics linked to the product it is supposed to sell. But films are not the usual type of mass-produced items. Films can even become symbolic, social or popular events, as was the case for example with Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977). Cinema is a complex cultural industry, and the challenge facing marketers when it comes to films is quite daunting. People may need to go to the cinema now, but the average cinemagoer rarely needs to see a particular film. Therefore, marketers have to create a whole experience; the urge to see a product whose fleeting value–or lack of it–is only known after it has been watched. Marketers have to deliver to the right crowd in the right way and in a short time span what is both a commercial product and the result of a historical, social and national context, while “positioning [it] in relation to its competitors,” as noted by Peter Krämer.

It reminds us that advertising films has its uncertainties, but is also a human endeavor involving. So, the tendency that we love right now is just the result of what we expect in terms of consumers. And we came to a sort of tipping point for the cinema marketing – we don’t aim to bring people to the movies anymore, we create some attractive storytelling platforms that can be monetized, in which the movie is just a part of the equation. A film is not enough, we buy a story and this story does not start when the lights go off and does not end when the popcorn bucket is over. And brands are definitely crazy about franchise or cultural references that can make their message standing out in a particular and faster way.

We have many ways to integrate movies to entertainment platforms. Here, you have a couple of examples to understand the place of a movie in a bigger storytelling experience. From a complete immersed experience in fashion cultural codes (Zoolander 2), to the universal use of well-known memory structures to apply to specific brands (James Bond) or the extension of the excitement of a sci-fi story (Star Wars). Or simply, a movie that emphasises the mission and the attributes of a brand (Lego Movie)

And the latest cool thing, BB-8 coordinated with the Star Wars experience

Robot Star Wars

All this definitely redefines the way we experience movies…actually, I wanted to say, the way we consume entertainment.


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