Sample Book Chapters

Chapter 1 - Creative Strategy (For Marketing)

Chapter summaries in this section of the website are distilled from 139,200 words in the book.

   Because most movies are based on original concepts, the ad messages need to position each film in its appropriate genre, so aficionados of that genre can easily find the movie. The ad message should also serve up notions about what makes a film special to attempt to broaden audience appeal.
   The most important concept to keep in mind when creating movie ads is that most film releases are analogous to “new product” launches. Certainly, consumers are predisposed to various elements of

BELOW: Three is definitely a crowd in the creative for Universal’s “You, Me and Dupree” billboard. The expressive three faces crammed together position the comedy for the youth market.


familiarity in a movie, such as  well-known actors or films based on preexisting properties such as popular novels. Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford are de facto brand names as heroic good guys, and the Harry Potter books have legions of fans. Yet, films with popular stars and films based on popular books bomb all the time.
   The total cost to conceive of and polish creative materials into a finished advertising campaign for a big Hollywood film ranges from $1 million to $3 million, depending on how many outside ad shops are involved. Independents spend drastically less, often using one shop to create both the trailer and television commercial. Independents also may opt for less-expensive shops, not the top Hollywood boutiques hired by the major studios.
   In creating advertising material, the top priorities are cinema trailers, which are also used on the Internet, and television commercials. Hollywood film marketers view them as the most persuasive in convincing moviegoers to buy cinema tickets. They reason that film itself is an audiovisual medium, so the audio and visual qualities of cinema trailers and television commercials best convey flavor and nuances. Also, Web sites post trailers and TV commercials free, providing a huge promotional platform. 
   Since 2000, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been monitoring whether movie ads comply with industry self-regulation to market movies to age-appropriate audiences.
   Labor unions for top Hollywood talent—actors, directors, and writers— include provisions for their members to be listed in ads, which inject a degree of consistency in presenting names in advertising. For example, the basic agreement of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) stipulates that signatory companies—the major studios and others—list the director’s name no less than “15% of the size of type used for the title of the motion picture, but in no event less than the size and style of type for any credit accorded any persons other than actors.” #

Text copyright © 2013, Robert Marich. All rights reserved.

Used here with permission from SIU Press.