Category Archives: Film

A New Breed of Celebrity

It’s no secret that I am a TMZ watching, Us Weekly reading, pop culture fanatic. There is good reason why I’m not alone in this thinking. Whether it’s the chic and brilliant Johnny Depps and Meryl Streeps of the world, or the not-quite-sure-why-they-are-famous Kim Kardasians and Heidi Montags, the fascination is due to the fact that these people are beautiful, wealthy, and – at least in some cases – talented. The constant swarm of salacious gossip doesn’t hurt either.

But lately, we’ve seen a new breed of celebrity: digital business leaders.

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Filed under Celebrity, Facebook, Film, FourSquare, Social Media

The Social Network

“We are talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.”

Radiohead’s “Creep” + Justin Timberlake acting + Mark Zuckerberg in his pre-billionaire state = “The Social Network”

For now, check out the trailer and let us know what you think.

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Filed under Film, Social Media

Hollywood’s Hottest New Couple: HP and SJP

Whether or not you have preordered your ticket for opening weekend of Sex and the City 2, you might be interested to know that a key player in the franchise may be missing: the Apple computer. HP made a huge media buy to publicize its latest line of chic, designer laptops. They are pretty cute, I must admit.

On top of the multiple product placements in the film, HP has launched a full-blown social media campaign to support the promotion. This includes a flashy microsite detailing the ins and outs of the “2010 Spring Laptop Collection,” as well as a Facebook contest with a glamorous weekend in New York as the grand prize. SJP is also the latest star to walk consumers through her PC in the new TV ads.

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Filed under Branding, Celebrity, Facebook, Film, Microsite

Do Product Placements Make You (Ga)Gag?

Some have said that if content is king, then content distribution is the crown prince. While it remains paramount that brands continue to product relevant and provocative content, the means by which that brand image is shared needs to be just as, if not more, innovative these days.

Product placement is nothing new. Since 1919 when Red Crown Gasoline appeared in the short comedy film The Garage, to the far more recent outpouring of marketing in today’s entertainment, a la Absolute Vodka in Sex and the City, brands have made their mark in non-advertising for a price. Some are subtle (think Volvo in the Twilight series) and some are not so subtle (think the host of consumer brands highlighted in Talladega Nights). But none have found their way into as provocative a spectacle as the recent mini-movie/music video, Telephone by Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Continue reading

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Filed under Celebrity, Film, Pop Culture, Trend, YouTube

Dinner and a Movie with Your Entire Social Network

There are few things that make me transition from buttoned up PR professional to a giggling, boy-crazy thirteen year-old in a matter of seconds. One of those few things does happen to be Twilight (no judging, please).

In less than 24 hours, the highly anticipated Twilight Eclipse trailer has received close to 3 millions hits on YouTube and 1.7 million blog mentions. So here I am contributing to those already impressive numbers.

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Filed under Blogging, Celebrity, Film, Internet, Pop Culture, Social Media

AVATAR and the Interactive Trailer

When going to the movies, I always arrive early to make sure I have a chance to see the previews. Trailers showcase the best elements of a film, like high-energy action sequences with bad guys in toe, heart-warming embraces between the heartthrob and his leading lady, epic soliloquies by the underdog-turned-hero or that one punch line that everyone will remember for years to come. Whether or not the movie is actually good, the preview never seems to disappoint. While I may be an easy critic, every once-in-a-while there is a trailer that creates such buzz and generates such curiosity that it nearly crashes the Fandango site weeks before the film is in theaters.

One of these aforementioned previews is for the James Cameron flick Avatar, out in theaters today. While the futuristic storyline sounds awesome and the special effects look out of this world, you have the chance to really get to know this movie before you even hit the theaters.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out the Avatar interactive trailer powered by Adobe AIR. Offering much more than your average two minute preview, this desktop application takes over your screen with a variety of video clips, behind the scenes interviews and connection to social media sites like Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. As you scale through the many features, you can track the Avatar Twitter account, which disseminates updates about the cast, links to additional YouTube clips and offers updates on ticketing. If you see something you like, you can update your Facebook status or Twitter page with the click of a mouse.

For decades, movies were very one-way; the audience would sit in front of the screen and absorb the movie in front of them. Today, we have the option of becoming involved with a particular movie even weeks or months before we see it. Through social media outlets like Flickr, YouTube or Twitter and with interactive applications like the Avatar trailer, we are able to watch and absorb information about the film and share our opinions with our peers and directly with the production companies.

How do you feel about the interactive trailer? Does it enhance the movie experience or ruin the element of surprise?

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Thanks to Rob Longert for the idea behind this post.

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Filed under Facebook, Film, Flickr, Social Media, Twitter, Video, YouTube

Best of 2009: Paranormal Activity Finds Abnormal Amount of Success Thanks to Online Following

As we approach year’s end, I’ve begun to think back to some of the best examples of digital campaigns in 2009. One in particular stands out to me–Paranormal Activity.

I’m not a fan of scary movies, but I have great respect for the creators of Paranormal Activity, a low-budget horror flick released earlier this fall. With a miniscule budget of just $10,000, Paranormal Activity was able to reach blockbuster status after bringing in $22 million in its first weekend in wide-release. And it was all thanks to the power of social media.

While the film earned respectable viewership while in limited release, Paramount Studios saw even greater potential in mainstream audiences—but before investing the cash, they wanted to make sure. The studio launched a grassroots digital campaign to generate buzz around the film and gauge interest from potential viewers. Should 1 million viewers announce online that they’d like to see the film, Paranormal Activity would be expanded to wide-release across the country.

This campaign was hugely successful and the online chatter surrounding the psychological thriller was even more than expected. Horror film buffs took to their blogs, Twitter pages and Facebook account not only asking, but demanding to see the film in wide-release.

“The fans have really made this their film and they are doing the bulk of the work to market the film,” said Megan Colligan, co-president of marketing for Paramount Studios.

The grassroots approach enabled consumers to feel like they were a part of a movement and encouraged them to spread the word—a benchmark of a successful online campaign. Even though I respect and appreciate what the marketers were able to accomplish, I’ll stick to watching It’s a Wonderful Life this time of year.

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Filed under Best Practices, Film