Distributors of the 400 or so independent studio movies that are produced each year often can’t afford to market their films with the $30 million+ ad budgets that major studios possess. Increasing competition and tighter budgets means the marketers have to get more creative to reach their audience. In addition, many independent movies are seeking to connect with a ‘hipster’ audience that wants to avoid direct marketing messages.
The common denominator for many of these smaller production companies is that they are making “smart, quirky movies for a sophisticated young audience.” While many production companies generate buzz by showing a 30-second or two-minute trailer in theaters, companies targeting the ‘hipster’ audience believe it’s difficult to show the essence of the movie in a limited time period.
Here’s where some of these companies say they’ll be spending their promotional budgets:
- Word-of-mouth screenings
- Food and merchandise giveaways promoted via Facebook and Twitter
- Traditional TV advertising on cable channel, especially Comedy Central
Industry experts note that reaching ‘hipsters’ is uniquely challenging. This month, however, an Adweek article noted that niche film Inglorious Basterds found a growing audience in its first weekend in theaters as a result of positive reviews via Twitter that overshadowed opinions from critics. This development is the perfect example of how online, viral promotions are working to increase awareness among well-educated consumers who are seeking unique entertainment options in movie theaters.[Sources: Reuters release, July 2009; Zeitchik, Steven. Basterds is Twitter Age’s First Success Story, AdWeek. 8.24.09 ]