Marketing a film doesn’t simply involve letting the audience know what it’s about and when it’s released. Fans of film history know that studios and filmmakers have often devised clever marketing campaigns that provide audiences with entertaining and engaging content that operates as more than simple promotional material. The Internet has given rise to more of these campaigns, as filmmakers come up with smart ways to reach potential moviegoers online.
An Immersive, Realistic Marketing Campaign
A Perfect Getaway, released in 2009, boasted just such a marketing campaign. It weaved content designed to look like news reports into a narrative about the film itself. This served multiple purposes. First, it gave viewers a general sense of what type of movie they would see if they bought a ticket. Two, it grounded the material in a sense of reality by mimicking the news broadcast format. Third, it simply provided audience members with extra content they could enjoy in anticipation of the film’s release.
However, this particular campaign wasn’t merely a cheap gimmick. Those who wish to study it can see the videos created for the campaign on a YouTube channel created to promote the film.
Watch the short clips, and it’s clear that the marketing team put substantial effort into making sure they actually appeared to be genuine news clips. They hired actors who convincingly play TV anchors, they included brief mentions of other news stories to lend the clips a sense of authenticity, and in general, they matched the production values and production style of a news program.
This is the type of marketing that values providing the audience with as much entertainment as possible, even before the film is released. A Perfect Getaway is a thriller that aims to please, and its marketing campaign also embodied this quality, giving viewers a unique glimpse into the events depicted in the film via a genuinely engaging method. While most film promotion generally consists of trailers, TV spots, billboards, posters, and some web presence, the team behind A Perfect Getaway’s marketing took extra steps to ensure even the promotional content matched the film’s goals: keeping the audience interested.
The Film behind the Marketing
This type of marketing campaign would, of course, be much less admirable if the film didn’t live up to its promise. There are plenty of examples in film history of marketing teams leveraging gimmicky campaigns in an effort to generate buzz for a film that doesn’t live up to the clever promotional tactics. That was not the case with A Perfect Getaway. In fact, the marketing campaign itself essentially primed the viewer for the experience they would have while watching the film.
That’s because A Perfect Getaway is, by design, the kind of film that keeps viewers guessing throughout most of its runtime. The filmmakers behind this project did not want audience members to feel as though they could completely trust any of the characters. They also wanted to make sure audiences felt eager to see the mystery of the events in the film unravel.
In that respect, the marketing campaign simply added to the movie’s overall effect. While it absolutely also served to inform the viewer about important details of the film’s plot, it also generated questions in the viewer’s mind, much like the experience of watching the movie.
Lessons for Marketers
That’s perhaps the main reason this marketing campaign was so impressive. When designing unique campaigns for films, marketers should keep in mind that the campaign will be even more effective if it corresponds to the film’s overall nature in some way. This ensures the marketing content also serves as an extension of the viewing experience itself.
In other words, the team who designed the campaign didn’t choose the news broadcast format arbitrarily. Instead, they realized that a news broadcast that causes a potential viewer to ask questions about what will happen in the film was an appropriate format for the movie they were promoting. Had the film belonged to a different genre (like a teen thriller, for instance), the marketing might have been more effective in the form of a social media campaign. However, that would not have been the appropriate choice for this type of movie and its target audience.
It’s important to realize that examples like A Perfect Getaway remind us that marketing campaigns do not merely need to get the word out about the film and sell more tickets. They should do that, of course—but they can also actually represent fun ways to continue entertaining viewers both before and after they watch the movie. Although A Perfect Getaway stands on its own as a fun thriller, it doesn’t hurt that the way it was promoted added an extra degree of entertainment value and created a more immersive experience for the audience.