Marketing The Movies by @Silverscreengrl

2013 was an astoundingly good year for movies.  However 2014 is set to be the year where filmgoers will find themselves with a full dance card, with offerings from major franchises and sequels abounding throughout the year.

And while these blockbusters have a guaranteed audience (and, in the case of films from the Marvelverse, a dedicated following), any studio worth its weight knows that an audience can’t be taken for granted. In the days where social media has re-invigorated the way PR, marketing and publicity can reach an audience, studios are now recognising the importance of maintaining a relationship with a potential audience and fans from pre-production right through to getting people into the cinema.

In particular, Marvel has been able to score a slam-dunk in terms of getting audiences frothy in anticipation for their 2013 and 2014 releases. One of their greatest successes in igniting fan excitement (and bringing new audience members to the cinema) was with the 2013 publicity for Thor: The Dark World. Just as they did with their other Marvel offerings, TDW took centre stage at Comic Con 2013. However, those assembled at Hall H the day of the panel got far more than they bargained for (and nearly made the internet implode) when they were treated to a fully bedecked Loki (actor Tom Hiddleston) onstage. It was a risk- why go with Loki when the main villain of the Thor sequel was Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith?

Loki was a proven fan-favourite; a strong villain in a sea of equally strong heroes. Marvel heard the fans and delivered. They then went on to continue the relationship with their viral Twitter campaign, whereby fans could win exclusive t-shirts by using the hashtag “#FreeLokiSweeps”. This also tied in nicely with a publicity poster showing the aforementioned God of Mischief breaking out of his Asgardian cell.

But what happens at the other end of the scale, when you are an independent film-maker in a sea of films that have dedicated PR/Marketing teams and a built-in fan base? Relationships are very much at the heart of independent films too, and in some cases can be even more vital. Independent films which require crowdfunding can attract a lively fan base that can ardently help through re-tweets of crowdfunding campaigns and the sharing of trailers. Giving updates on campaigns and showing production updates via social media makes audiences feel like they are part of the ‘team’. Indeed, even in pre-production and funding stages a film can grow an ardent following that is dedicated to the film’s success.

These days with films, regardless of whether they are blockbusters or ‘little films that could’, an ongoing relationship with the audience makes an indelible mark that remains well after the credits have rolled.

Lynnaire MacDonald freelances in publicity and marketing for film. Currently working tirelessly ‘in the trenches’ with independent film-makers. She eats, breathes and sleeps film and her goal is to work full-time in film publicity in the UK.

Follow her: @Silverscreengrl