Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Marketing Isn't Crowd Serfing.

The news that actor/musician Jared Leto broke his nose when the audience at his gig allegedly proved less than willing to hold him on high provides an exquisite metaphor for the perils of community marketing.

Some weeks ago, I wrote about the terrific Q & A session with Zack Snyder director of 300 and urged that it should be put online as quickly as possible. Well belatedly it is, but not as I'd expected. A thirty minute session has been cut to less than five and "branded" to within an inch of its life. Throwing the whole session up on YouTube unedited (save for any slanders) would have been quick, cheap and transmitted the sociability and joy of the occassion. It's still worth viewing but the vitality is gone and that's a shame.

To a lesser degree, the somewhat confusing announcement at the recent bloggers' screening of Sunshine that any subsequent blogposts should not include "real reviews" was another example of "we know best." I accept, to some extent, that the whole review process has to be co-ordinated but the implication that the attending evangelists might contemplate extreme plot revelations is a little paranoid - especially when the numerous trailers (in line with the current trend) give away so much. Moreover, people are savvy enough to avoid and vilify spoilers should they exist while knowing the denouement didn't harm the box office for Bond movies or The Passion of the Christ.

Warners and Fox Searchlight are to be applauded in the steps they're taking to provide access and materials to fans - and both movies are highly recommended - but they just need to learn to let go a little more next time because marketing around objects of sociability requires that you trust your community. As soon as you start editing the experience (be that literally or otherwise) you begin to make the sociable unsociable. The presence of the third hand is felt - like the door policy at a club or the need to log into sites before you can comment - and the relationship is altered.

Dictating to a community implies that you created it - you didn't, you just facilitated its existence and facilitation demands you should impose as few limitations as possible because that way lies ownership and a sense of belonging. The other way lies serfdom and serfs dont make great evangelists. Or surfable crowds.


Blogger plyingmyconduit said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:21 AM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger plyingmyconduit said...

I was unable to make the 300 screening, but i concur that what they have posted is perhaps the tip of the iceberg as to what was actually discussed and the obvious energy the screening had generated in it's audience.

Linking to the notion of is particularly valid when you consider what the full unedited video of this interview would mean to it's participants. If screening films to bloggers is an admission that there is a passionate audience of early adopters, that conversation within their own micro and macro communities about a film is extending the depth of it's reach.

Then why hamper or patronise that audience with conventional marketing practices, splicing footage and sound bites, directing the outcome of the q&a after the fact within it's editing. Moreover why pay somebody to do this when you have an audience that will gladly do this for you. Supply the entire unedited footage online (alongside your 'studio' version) slap a CC licence on top and have faith in the very creativity and endeavour you saw in the audience you decided to screen your film for. Interact, facilitate and engage us please!

If a blog author so wishes they can stream the whole piece word for word, or make their own cut. Give people a choice, engage the "flexibility" and "mutation" aspects of the new media and it's audience they seem keen to have identified all by themselves!?!

Back to Sunshine, indeed a preview screening that benefited from it's like minded audience, thoroughly enjoyed it. Blogging a studio move is an entirely different animal when you compare them with projects i've been involved with
and . There are miles of red tape between the write your post and hit publish that can be circumvented with the indie blog due to the nature of the relationship between the blogger and the production.

One of our biggest worries with these blogs has been knowing in my mind that conventional advertising has rarely worked on me of late, how are blogs going to reach other people like me? Despite working in film and being principally a film geek, I do not find my wish to see a film motivated by traditional campaigns, having formerly loved the output of sites like
, finding spoiler images and secret first sitings of posters and film content, I now find I read them less and less. The result of having far more insightful commentary in my Bloglines morning refresh I suppose. So has blogging worked for Sunshine? As i said the other night, I consume rather a lot of Sci-Fi so there were some obvious genre conventions that the film employed that had already been validated by the content on the sunshine blog, in essence I kind of knew what i'd be getting. But there was enough cloak and daggers in the handling of the material on the site to create some great 'oh i thought they were going to so this...' moments in the film. Something a serial consumer of genre films is always delighted to have happen. I also thought that the blog brilliantly crafted a sort of tonal parallel to the film, something Hallam Foe in particular has managed to evolve quite unconsciously.

5:24 AM, March 12, 2007  

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