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Building Feature Film Buzz Online

  |  January 19, 2006   |  Comments

Four weeks out is the best time for a theatrical release campaign to capture a movie-going audience.

Online ads for theatrical film releases are most effective four weeks before release date, according to analysis based on a series of reports from Dynamic Logic. The analysis demonstrates movie ads -- at any time in a promotion cycle -- raise brand awareness and favorability more than ads in any other industry.

Fifty-seven online campaigns for theatrical film releases scored an average 9.8 for aided brand awareness and 4.3 for brand favorability for any stage during the campaign's course. Awareness and purchase intent peaked 21 to 27 days prior to release. Awareness is four times higher during that period (22.5 points) than it is one week prior to the opening day (5.4 points). That's a 13.9 increase of consumer intent to buy movie tickets.

Advertising Impact on Movie Awareness and Ticket Purchase Intent
Click on graphic to view chart
"The movie campaign is one of the highest performers in raising brand awareness and brand favorability," said Dynamic Logic Director of Marketing Communications Christina Goodman. "The ads themselves are entertaining, people enjoy watching the ad for a particular movie, there's a higher chance they can be influenced by that ad."

Consumer intent to go to a particular film is subject to what the report calls a "boom and buzz effect." As the release date nears, consumers begin to consider all the movies released the same weekend and narrow down the list to one film.

Competition for consumer movie dollars is one factor in the buzz and boom theory; critics and word-of-mouth can tarnish opinion if consumers aren't captured early on in the marketing process.

"Each new movie is essentially a new brand," said Goodman. "You need to focus on making people aware of the new brand, you need to keep the purchase funnel in mind."

Rich media ads aid buzz and create a bigger splash. The report finds about two in three movie ads are rich media units, saying the medium outperforms standard display ads by an average of 20 percent. Rich media units require fewer exposures to grab attention; video ads capture a consumer at the first or second exposure.

"What we've seen for online advertising is that roughly two in three [movie] ads are rich media units," said Goodman. "Rich media, based on our research, outperformed the standard jpeg or gif by about 20 percent."

The report offers a few tips to keep in mind when planning online movie campaigns:

  • Leverage the "buzz factor" early to generate awareness.
  • Creative content is still key.
  • Rich media, especially online video ads, are highly recommended.
  • Weekend advertising is especially effective.

The report looked at and analyzed 57 movie campaigns for theatrical releases within Dynamic Logic's MarketNorms database.

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Enid Burns

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