Europa Distribution: new marketing strategies
by Birgit Heidsiek
22/08/2012 - "Why should people pay attention, care, share, take time and return?", asks Sarah Calderon, Head of the Film Agency in Spain whose clients include , Wim Wenders' Neue Road Movies, the Venice Film Market or the French Zadig Productions. If it comes to marketing producers, distributors and world sales are focusing only on their own business field. Calderon plans to develop together with the rights holders complex strategies for a global marketing. "It is not enough to do just a photo call on the set because the photos for the social media have to be taken during the film shooting." The B2C marketing requires coordinating the distributors in an early stage so that they can build up common strategies and save expenses.
Calderon considers social media as an opportunity to attract young target groups. "In Europe, we have lost the young audiences because they would rather see films online instead of going to the cinema. This indicates the need to develop new release strategies. Viewers are now used to watching everything at any time." The first day-and-date release in Spain was a huge success at the box office as well as for DVDs and downloads.
"Nowadays, word of mouth spreads out via social media," said Anya Rutsche. As Senior Account Manager Social Media at the LBi Group in Munich, she is responsible for the digital marketing campaigns for Paramount releases such as Madacascar 3 or Paranormal Activity 4. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for social media is an important tool to set links strategically. "But also Google+ becomes more and more important", Rutsche underlined. "The users take only notice of online adds if they have a Google+." The bottom line for the online marketing is that there has to be a theme that attracts users.
The management of social media campaigns on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter will become easier with the Waveback, a software solution that the French company Under The Milky Way has developed with the support of MEDIA. "Waveback is a very efficient tool for distributors who don‘t have the staff or the budget for social media agencies," declared Pierre-Alexandre Labelle, co-founder of Under the Milky Way. Waveback which is already being tested by some distributors which be launched in December at the Festival De Cinéma Européen des Arcs.
The promotion of a film requires often more than social media campaigns. The marketing of the French feel-good movie Les Intouchables seemed to be difficult because it had no famous actor nor was it based on a well-known book. The marketing team at Senator Film in Germany was not enthusiastic when the buyers brought a French film from Cannes with an unknown cast and a lead in a wheelchair. "We focused on the warm humor and the friendship when we worked on the trailer and the artwork," outlined Astrid Böhmisch, Head of Marketing & Publicity. With more than 8.5 million viewers, the comedy has become the biggest box office hit in Germany.
"Journalists always need a story and not just facts and figures," said PR expert Ian Thomson. As the director of McAinsh Consulting, he has Ridley Scott, Danny Boyle and the K5 Media Group on his client list. At the Cannes film market, he generated a lot of interest for Duncan Jones‘s biopic on Ian Fleming by placing a story in The Times, which was picked up by the dailies at the festival. "I don‘t give exclusive stories to online media," said Thomson, "but work with many publications as possible to get a high media penetration".
Film marketing comes down to the basic questions who is the target audience, what is the film about and which message should be delivered with the trailer and poster, outlined John Durie, Head of Strategic Film Marketing, who has worked on more than 600 quality films from around the world. "The elderly audience is getting more important," concluded Durie, ‘because this target group has time and money."