“The Social Network” premieres nationwide this Friday, but tickets for the controversial, Facebook-based film are already popping up on sites like MovieTickets.com, Fandango, and Moviefone. And there may not be a better platform to serve ads that will put butts in seats for this particular movie than Facebook.com.
The Palo Alto, CA-based social site’s advertising guidelines (see below) appear to allow ads that do not include Facebook’s brand name and trademarks. But will any of those movie tickets sites have the chutzpah to try to run ads on the turf of Mark Zuckerberg – the main subject of a movie that the Facebook CEO reportedly finds upsetting?
ClickZ reached out to all three to find out. Fandango wouldn’t comment, and AOL’s Moviefone stated it would not be purchasing such ads. A MovieTickets.com spokesperson, though, said its marketing team was currently discussing the possibility.
“We are considering it leading up to the film’s premiere,” the spokesperson said in an e-mail to ClickZ late last week.
If MovieTickets.com pulls the trigger, it could be the only marketer with sales interest in the film to submit ads to Facebook. Columbia Pictures is producing “The Social Network,” and will not comment about why it is neither running Facebook ads nor establishing an official Facebook page. Facebook has been mum about the circumstances with Columbia as well. The relationship between marketers of the movie and Facebook appears to be understandably contentious. The former party simply has a job to do in terms of promoting the film, while the latter is concerned with protecting Zuckerberg’s image.
It’s worth noting that building up a strong base of “likers” on the site appears to be of growing importance to movie marketers. For instance, last week Facebook.com ads appeared for the comedy “Little Fockers” with the goal of building up an audience on the site well before the film opens on Dec. 22.
And of course, movie advertisers have been regularly appearing on Facebook for quite some time, and both MovieTickets.com and Moviefone acknowledged running promos on the site before. So a key question remains: Will Facebook’s review team simply deny an ad by MovieTickets.com or another marketer trying to commercially capitalize on “The Social Network”?
Speaking with ClickZ recently, Facebook spokesperson Larry Yu suggested advertisers simply need to avoid breaking the social site’s ad guidelines. “If they run in conflict with the Facebook-specific reference…then issues would need to be addressed,” he said.
Lastly, Yu e-mailed the guidelines relevant to “The Social Network” situation to ClickZ:
- The following conditions apply to all ads that have a Facebook Page, application, event, group, or Connect site as its destination, except as otherwise specifically permitted to those subject to the Branding and Promotion Policy section of the Platform Policies:
- Ads may make limited references to “Facebook” in its title, body, or image for the purposes of clarifying the destination of the ad.
- Ads cannot imply any endorsement of the product, service, or ad destination by Facebook.
- All other ads, destination ads, and landing pages must adhere to the following restrictions:
- Ads cannot mention or refer to Facebook, its site, or its brand in any manner, including in the title, body, image, or destination URLs.
- Ads cannot use Facebook logos, trademarks, or site terminology (including but not limited to Facebook, The Facebook, FacebookHigh, FBook, FB, Poke, Wall, and other company graphics, logos, designs, or icons).
- Facebook site features cannot be emulated.