The World Is Flat When It Comes To Brand Marketing
Something has happened over the last twenty years that if you aren't in the movie industry, you might not have realized: Movies release internationally at around the same time as in the US.
This might not sound like big news, but for brand marketers, this recent development - along of course with the whole 'world is flat' and social media word and word of mouth marketing - has changed the ability to market around a feature film. In this blog post we take a look at some of the data on film release date changes, and what it means to marketers.
One of our favorite film research bloggers, Stephen Follows, recently wrote this great article on the differences between US and UK film releases, and how the margin has gotten smaller in recent years. Be sure to check out his blog post on the subject matter!
One of the examples he used was that "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery opened in America and Canada on 2nd May 1997, but South Koreans had to wait until 19th November 2000 to see it." Can you even imagine that happening now? There would be fan riots! :)
More Money. Now
For one, the day of the week drives movie traffic just like it does in the US. More people are going to actually be going to movie theaters on a Friday night (date night!) and Saturday than on any other nights of the week. So the studios are able to sweeten that footprint of movie viewers and capture more dollars. Now, not tomorrow. And that rapid rise in dollars that are caught acts like lubricant to other people to get them into the movie theater doors as well - because after all, if EVERYONE is seeing it, shouldn't you too?
One of the reasons studios have moved to have same date or similar date releases internationally is due to piracy. In fact, not only are movies now released at the same time in Asia and Europe - they may be released a day or two actually AHEAD of the US.
The reasoning here is that before this change, more blatantly bad piracy acts of individuals sitting in the theater with a video recorder held up, recording what is on screen for later sharing to all on piracy sites was occurring. And fans hungry for anything would be willing to watch it, as the loooong wait of up to half a year + for the film to come out in their market just wasn't worth the wait.
Piracy isn't going to go anywhere, but this is one of the best ways the movie studios can damper the negatives to some degree.
Even with home entertainment, you are seeing dates push up closer to the date of the initial movie release versus waiting 6 to 9 months (or longer) to be available for home viewers. In large part - or in all part - that reason is technology. No longer does VHS production have to occur - with copies of the films actually recorded on tape, and then shipped and warehoused to get to distributors. That world is gone with the ability to Stream on Demand, and the creation of that home entertainment component has scaled down sizably with both cost and time for the studios.
Studios can be better planners - creating a global program for the film versus looking at advertising in just the US, then just in Asia, then just in Europe, et al. Instead, just like with brand marketers, a true campaign can be created. Same-date release allows a studio to mount a major word-of-mouth AND social media (hey, it’s kinda the same) campaign around the film, and also push advertising spend across all countries through traditional print, radio and TV channels as well.
The Reason We Care - Brand Marketing
And the best reason for this change - at least to our way of thinknig? Is that it provides brand marketers a better ease to wrap their own marketing dollars around the film, and create a true co-branded marketing campaign around the specific launch period or targeted marketing period already alotted for the brand.
A mobile phone partner that is going to release a new model isn’t staggering that release date in each country. Think of movies like Bond or Avengers… that mobile (or beer…or auto…or…) company is going to want shout from the tops of mountains NOW about the partnership, and not slooooowly push it out to market. In decades past, marketers would only concentrate on US marketing, as everything else was just too uncertain and spread apart. The movie studios are smart – they want to make everyone’s dollars better work for them. Including creating more opportunities for brands to TRULY partner and support the film.
How Can A Brand Leverage This?
Brand marketers have more opportunities to leverage a film partnership to it's highest potential. A film partnership doesn't HAVE to be based around product placement - just check out our blog on Star Wars and all of the successful global and domestic partnerships as an example. But for films that offer realistic product placement opportunities, we could not more so encourage brands to look into embedding themselves into the storyline - and THEN marketing the heck out of it.
Is Product Placement right for your brand? Watch this video to learn more about how this marketing practice works, what brand categories it works for, and the results brand marketers see!