In between a design meeting discussing upcoming film poster art, drafting press kits for newly-acquired titles and crafting a pitch strategy for a 2003 documentary with new-found relevancy, I stumbled across this article, about “Hollywood’s Shiny New Movie Marketing Weapon.”
Following my first interview for this job, and before I came in for the second, I was asked to draft a hypothetical marketing plan for an upcoming release, one with a shoestring budget. I recommended social media campaigns, ad buys in targeted markets, even an SMS campaign to subscribers opted in to alerts. I also added, on a whim, the idea of a Google Hangout, some online conversation with filmmakers, actors – some way to put the films’ main players in direct contact with an audience broader than any that could fit in a single theater.
Apparently, I was ahead of my time.
Google Plus may not have the user base of Facebook or the cachet of Twitter, but it does have Hangouts, which let people video chat from every corner of the globe.
Hollywood has latched onto Hangouts as a cost-efficient — and fan friendly — way to promote movies. When Kutcher and Gad sat down for their conversation with Fandango’s Dave Karger, for instance, Kutcher was in Chicago while Gad was in Washington, D.C.
Hangouts bring fans into the process and make these interviews available to anyone with access to the internet. Fans can see stars talk from the comfort of their home, ask them questions and watch it live.
I seriously love this stuff. I love that a major film (and presumably, the studio behind it) is embracing previously unconsidered means to reach audiences. I love the democratic nature of tools like this. Whether your a major player or a niche distributor, you can host a Google Hangout and attract audiences from every corner of the internet to discover your film.
The days of the press junket are numbered, if not over. The film press will always have a major role in a film’s success or failure, I don’t doubt. But I imagine their interactions with filmmakers will be more and more digital (read: cheap). What’s more, the film fans won’t have to wait to read coverage of the interviews; they can attend them.