Trailers Take the Lead
Are you the moviegoer who enjoys the previews almost as much as the feature you pay to see? Well, then the movie biz is giving you a run for your money — online. Theatrical teasers have begun to take a backseat to the trailers found online—every day the web provides more and more avenues by which to connect to the consumer, and the film industry is taking note. Check out how upcoming releases are using Web sites, social networking tools and online games for trailblazing trailers …
The Fake-Out Trailer
Taking their cue from past box-office winners like “The Matrix” and “Blair Witch”, the makers of “2012” have capitalized on “fake-out” trailers and all-too-convincing Web sites. In addition to the standard HD footage featuring collapsing buildings and a terrified John Cusack, Sony Pictures also released an early trailer focusing on the “Institute of Human Continuity,” a fictional organization introduced with Discovery Channel-esque narration, a link to an “official” Web site that initially had no apparent affiliation to the film, and a prompt to Google “2012” for “the truth.” This example takes us beyond the kind of viral marketing we have seen so far, tapping into the significantly larger (and more gullible) population of Nostradamus believers, thousands of whom not only visited the site but called NASA for confirmation of the apocalypse. Now, that’s a believer.
The Integrated Photo Trailer
For the upcoming blue-ray re-release of Fight Club, FOX has launched a Facebook Connect promotional trailer in which members of the social networking site can insert photos of themselves into a working promo for the film. ABC has launched a similar option for its new series “FlashForward,” allowing audience members to insert their own personal information where mysterious clues and snippets of teaser information would normally be placed. In both cases, the trailers are easily shared across social networking platforms, and have spread like wildfire among Facebook users.
The Interactive Trailer
“Avatar” is all over the net, and not just because of the innovative technologies used to film it. In an effort to draw more public interest to the details of James Cameron’s meticulously designed world, Fox released an interactive trailer connected to the film’s Web site and social networking pages. The trailer runs separately as a downloadable program. Layered over the HD trailer already released on the web, clickable “hotspots” allow the viewer to watch extra footage detailing character profiles and the origins of alien technologies and animals. Links to purchase tickets and to view the “Avatar” Twitter feed (constantly updated) are also part of the application, combining teaser marketing, social networking and audience participation.
With these strategies—some of them evolutions of tried-and-true methods, some completely new—studios are proving the effectiveness and versatility of digital trailers. Where television teasers are often limited to just two minutes or less, Internet trailers necessitate more time (“Avatar’s” tv teaser is 2:20, while the full online trailer clocks in at a whopping 3:31). One can only imagine the possibilities as new technologies (3D, ahem) begin to take the foreground…
For more information on the impact of the “2012″ campaign, read USA Today’s “Oh, Maya! Is 2012 the end? Film boosts doomsday frenzy.” Still want more? For more details on Facebook Connect and the use of photo integration in movie trailers, read “Fight Club Promotion Makes Integrated Photo Trailers A Standard.” Greedy for more information? Check out Los Angeles Times article ‘Avatar’: technologically advanced, even in the trailer.