Industry Report: Marketing
Training on film marketing
by Laura Chialva-Nanchino
- During the training held by the Cinema and Ausiovisual Centre for French-speaking Belgian film professionals, a review of new, off-the-wall ideas that have been used to promote and distribute European films
The Cinema and Audiovisual Centre held training on new trends in film marketing and of distribution in Brussels this October, in collaboration with the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE). Aimed at French-speaking Belgian film professionals, the session aimed to boost their marketing skills, notably on social media networks, through presentations given by European industry professionals.
The session started with a presentation by Sarah Calderon, founder of The Film Agency, a young marketing consultancy agency specialised in services for the film industry, which since its inception in January 2012 has already worked with over 25 clients in 14 different countries.
Noting the need for a marketing strategy for producers - as completing a film is not an end in itself, Calderon presented a clear and structured to-do list for a complete, solid and original marketing plan, structured around several steps, the key point being to do most work as soon as possible during the project's development. "You must make positioning choices and decisions very quickly," she said. Producers should make sure they do all the following: observe context, make positioning choices, map out potential sales agents and co-producers, work on pitching their film project according to their audience, and define a target audience for their project's promotion and communication strategy.
Clever promotion strategies can then be planned, based on a concept from the film. For example, a sex chat line was set up and promoted as part of a successful communication campaign for Norwegian director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's coming-of-age comedy Turn Me On, Goddammit [+see also:
interview: Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
film profile], leading to dozens of articles, thousands of calls and more than 110,000 admissionsin cinemas nationwide -- about one third of the film's target group.
Anya Rutsche, social media expert at the LBI Germany AG, next spoke about online marketing via social networks. If 84% of the Belgian population uses the Internet and 50% uses social networks, how does one find one's audience on social networks, including Facebook? First, what are the producer's objectives, the film's quality, its potential audience and resources? The key is being interesting: "You must get the audience behind the scenes, get them directly involved from the start of production."
Do it working with new trends, such as new short video platform Vine, all the while analysing, tracking and adjusting your strategy depending on your public and its reactions.
Reward your supporters, like in the case of German director Zsolt Bács’ The Child [+see also:
film profile], where all those who had liked the film's Facebook page saw their name in the credits at the end of the film.
As film consumption practices evolve, it is necessary to adapt and join a growing debate on new forms of distribution, including the emergence of new video-on-demand or VoD platforms, event-oriented distribution and "day-and-date" distribution models.
Marieke Jorken, founder of We Want Cinema, discussed alternative distribution methods. We Want Cinema is an online platform that allows the public to decide what will be screened in cinemas, thereby creating benefits for the film sector's different stakeholders: cinemas themselves (as they can fill up auditoriums), producers (who can show their films) and members of the public (who thus have a wider choice, according to their personal preferences). Launched in the Netherlands in October 2012, the initiative has helped organise 60 events and will soon spread to several other European countries. The audience has thus becomes a major player in programming screenings.
Sarah Calderon also presented the TIDE Experiment, an initiative supported by the European Union's MEDIA programme. Its objective is to release several films over a period of two years in a number of European territories via "day-and-date" distribution models and using cross-media marketing, thus allowing the pooling of promotional costs. As part of the experiment, films such as Pierre-Yves Borgeaud's Viramundo [+see also:
film profile] and Ferzan Ozpetek's Magnifica Presenza [+see also:
film profile] were distributed respectively in 10 and 6 territories.
But how could these innovative practices be applied in Belgium?
Philippe Kaufmann and Marco Calant presented their company Cuistax, a service platform that aims to bring art projects to the public in a creative way. Among other things, Cuistax has been busy promoting Frederic Fonteyne's Tango Libre [+see also:
interview: Frédéric Fonteyne
film profile], Riton Liebman's Je Suis Supporter du Standard [+see also:
film profile], and François Pirot's Mobile Home [+see also:
film profile]. They did this, respectively, by organising a tango flashmob, creating a press kit in the form of a Panini football sticker album, and by touring music festivals in a mobile home. These examples all show that, with a little forward planning, a well-chosen object or concept can successfully draw the public's attention to a film.
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