Posts Tagged ‘film’

viral movie marketing

January 7, 2009

did a little research for a friend today…. really interesting subject!

Several of the most famous low budget movies of the last decade have been a phenomenal sucess due to their marketing campaigns… predominatly The Blair Witch project, but also cloverfield and snakes on a plane.

Would they have been such a sucess without the pre-production planned viral/internet campaigns? There’s a great article here;

The guerrilla campaign in 1999’s The Blair Witch Project has been well talked about. With no stars, no script, simple locations and a budget of around $50,000, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez – University of Central Florida Film School pals successfully scrubbed out the line between reality and fiction.

The film’s tagline set the stage: “In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later, their footage was found.” Audiences were expected to believe what they were watching — shaky, low-quality videotape of three runny-nosed kids weeping in the woods — was an edited-down version of real recovered footage. And while it was certainly an inventive way to challenge the boundaries of cinematic storytelling (not to mention justifying the low-budget look of the film), Blair Witch didn’t exactly seem poised to rival Titanic. That is, until an inventive guerrilla marketing scheme was devised.

To add to the hype, Sánchez created a Web site devoted to the Blair Witch – a fictitious, woods-based specter who’d been snapping up Maryland kids for the last century. Although the legend was created out of whole cloth, it was soon snapped up by gullible Interneters everywhere, and a first-ballot hall of fame urban legend was born. Pretty soon, thousands of people were terrified of the Blair Witch. Even when the actors who played the “film students” started showing up (alive) doing interviews about the movie, many across the country refused to believe the Blair Witch wasn’t real.

From that point, the “I’ve got to see for myself” effect took over, and Blair Witch dominated at the box office. Considered the most effective horror hoax since Orson Welles’ The War Of The Worlds broadcast, the film grossed $250 million worldwide. Not a bad return for Artisan Entertainment, which paid only $1 million for the flick after its Sundance screening.

Did Blair Witch really suceed on the efforts of its internet marketing campaign alone? Many others have tried since… Check out what Fortune magazine had to say here


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