Final word on SoaP
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I have yet to see a blogger that said s/he went to this movie, criticize the film, or its promotion.
On the flipside, of the bloggers that are criticizing the film and/or its promotion, none of them have stated that they attended, or planned on attending the film. Many of them stated that they thought it was a 'bad product'.
I definitely think there are some conclusions to be drawn here.
posted by Mack Collier @ 5:54 PM,
- At 8:49 PM, CK said...
I went to this film on opening night and I did real-time on-site polling with moviegoers.
The market is my judge.
(and the movie delivered exactly what it promised. it never promised Oscar. it promised silliness, horror, action, Sam Jackson and snakes).
- At 12:46 AM, said...
Based on your own comment, if you've yet to receive comments from the sea of bloggers who supposedly supported SoaP, that pretty much sums up my earlier points: for all the pre-release buzz, bloggers neither drove ticket sales nor provided a big push, themselves.
It's time to realize there is no "magic bullet" when it comes to blog marketing. As marketers have said for years, if not generations, all the buzz in the world means nothing if it results in no additional product sales.
- At 5:01 AM, said...
The issue is simple, create the buzz, then substantiate it with a good product.
SoaP was inspirational in the way it created the buzz. But then failed on the viral part after the first people saw it.
The Moral: Learn from the ideas of others and use them for yourself.
- At 7:51 AM, Spike said...
Theo - I think it's important to keep in mind that a very small percentage of the American public even knows what a blog is. And, of course, far less actually read and post on blogs.
I think the bloggers came out in force - for the blogging community and its numbers.
- At 7:56 AM, Mack Collier said...
"Based on your own comment, if you've yet to receive comments from the sea of bloggers who supposedly supported SoaP"
Theo my comment was that I have yet to see a blogger that saw the film, say that didn't LOVE it. I wasn't speaking about commenters HERE, I was talking about ALL bloggers. I literally went out and read other blogs on Friday morning, and have seen other bloggers commenting since then.
I have yet to see ONE blogger say they saw this film, and didn't like it.
As I said, on the flipside, I have yet to see ONE blogger that did NOT like the film, or the promotion, say that they DID see the film, or that they ever even CONSIDERED seeing it.
Coincidence? I think not.
Anonymous adds:"SoaP was inspirational in the way it created the buzz. But then failed on the viral part after the first people saw it."
How did it fail? Bloggers saw the movie, loved it, and then blogged about how they loved it.
THAT is failure?!?
- At 9:41 AM, Mack Collier said...
"It's time to realize there is no "magic bullet" when it comes to blog marketing. As marketers have said for years, if not generations, all the buzz in the world means nothing if it results in no additional product sales."
So you are saying that NO additional SoaP ticket sales came from bloggers?
Now you are just being silly. Anyone that can do a Technorati search can see you are wrong.
Let's cut the BS: Why does the fact that this movie got hype, and that bloggers loved it, piss you and others like Mack off? What's your motivation here? Is it simply because you didn't like seeing a movie being hyped that you never wanted to see?
New Line embraced the bloggers that were promoting this film for them, and as a result, bloggers embraced the film. Sounds like a win-win to me. What's your problem?
- At 1:55 AM, said...
Mack, you're right on my choice of words. I should have said no "meaningful" additional sales. And that leads to my "problem", I suppose.
First, I don't hate this movie. I find the premise ludicrously enjoyable, and have laughed along with Sam Jackson having fun as he pitched the film. If bloggers love it, that's wonderful. None of this is my issue. It's not personal, as they say. It's business.
I keep reading that SoaP is a blog marketing success story. Yet I see no real evidence being given to support this. No matter how much proof to the contrary is offered (studio post-mortems, industry research, box office comparisons with other genre films) there's no recognition that blog buzz didn't produce acceptable level of success in business terms. Instead, responses to these points include, "You're a douche". Here are facts.
Pre-release research found blogging failed to produce acceptable ticket demand. The studio had to push some $20 million in traditional promotions into market in order to raise actual purchase intent. Yet you say blogging added noticeably to the box office take. Where is the proof?
If you compare numbers, SoaP has performed like an average, B-grade, horror film. There's no improvement in box office over comparable films with no buzz. This adds weight to the case that blogging didn't add noticeable, increased sales.
As for bloggers, I readily accept they came out in droves. But if they did, why do we not see SoaP's numbers higher than the above-noted, non-hyped genre films? Spike reminds us the blogger community is very small. Is it, by itself, too small to have a noticeable affect on overall ticket sales? If so, then you can't say driving the blogger community to the box office is a measure of success from the studio's standpoint.
New Line has said publicly, blogging produced nowhere near the anticipated, opening weekend results. They expected blog buzz to drive mainstream purchase intent, but research showed it didn't happen. Only after the launch of traditional promotion efforts did the studio see real interest in tickert purchase intent rise.
This is a marketing discussion, right? Why are we talking about whether bloggers liked the film? The studio's goal wasn't for bloggers to buy tickets, it was for blog buzz to increase mainstream interest in buying tickets. That's the only reason New Line embraced anyone. The evidence says this didn't happen.
So, back to "my problem". How can you continue to say blogging was a success from a business standpoint?
- At 8:19 AM, Mack Collier said...
"I keep reading that SoaP is a blog marketing success story. Yet I see no real evidence being given to support this."
In January, New Line had to decide whether or not to allow Snakes on a Blog to stay up, or to close it down. They let it stay up, and told bloggers and internet users that were creating their own posters and trailers for the movie to keep doing what they were doing. It was at THAT point that buzz for SoaP took off like a rocket.
The question you have to ask yourself is: If New Line had sent a 'cease and desist' order to Finklestein back in January, how much tickets would SoaP have sold in August?
Answer: A damned sight fewer than 26+ million worth. That's why we can say that New Line's embracing their community of 'citizen marketers' worked.
Was it a huge success? No. Did it work? Yes. Did it teach New Line and other studios lessons that they can carry forward for even greater successes? Yes.
I don't think we need to say that 'blogging worked', but that New Line's move to EMBRACE THEIR COMMUNITY worked. Because it did.
"Here are facts.
Pre-release research found blogging failed to produce acceptable ticket demand. The studio had to push some $20 million in traditional promotions into market in order to raise actual purchase intent. Yet you say blogging added noticeably to the box office take. Where is the proof?"
Again Theo, you keep making this claim, but I've asked you twice now to document it, and you haven't. Since you are the only one that is saying this, and since you can't source your claim, I'm going to assume this isn't true.
"If you compare numbers, SoaP has performed like an average, B-grade, horror film."
And based on percentages of covering cost, and percentage fall-off from Week 1 to Week 2, SoaP also compared about the same as Pirates of the Caribbean 2.
Ain't stats great?
"As for bloggers, I readily accept they came out in droves. But if they did, why do we not see SoaP's numbers higher than the above-noted, non-hyped genre films?"
Again Theo, I think you are missing the point. The question is, did SoaP's sales likely rise or fall as a result of New Line embracing 'citizen marketers' to let them promote this film for them?
If you say that sales likely rose, then the promotion worked, since it cost New Line nada. If you think that New Line leaving Snakes on a Blog up, and not shutting down actually HURT sales, then you must believe the promotion didn't work.
I know which camp I fall in...
"Is it, by itself, too small to have a noticeable affect on overall ticket sales? If so, then you can't say driving the blogger community to the box office is a measure of success from the studio's standpoint."
Again, we are arguing 2 different stories here.
When New Line embraced 'citizen marketers' back in January, that's when internet buzz began to build for SoaP. That building buzz resulted in SoaP's citizen marketers on the internet turning out in droves to watch, and love, the movie. So obviously, New Line's move to empower these fans to promote SoaP for them, back in January, worked.
Now what YOU appear to be arguing is that since bloggers DID go to the theaters, but DIDN'T make SoaP a huge box-office success, that New Line's move to embrace the internet failed.
Again, I never saw this as a move that was going to spill over and make SoaP a huge mainstream success. That's why when I made my comment that opening weekend for SoaP could be anywhere from 5-50 million, I made it because as I noted, 'we have no idea how many bloggers were going to show up'. Bloggers were ALWAYS going to drive the success of this movie, at least that's how I looked at this.
Again, New Line embraced the internet, and as a result, they sold more tickets, IMO. Thusly, I see the promotion as a success. If you had a different idea about what New Line was trying to accomplish, then you can decide for yourself whether or not it worked.
"New Line has said publicly, blogging produced nowhere near the anticipated, opening weekend results."
And how did they know to anticipate what the results would be? How many instances are there of studios actively embracing bloggers in the promotion of a major-studio release? Is there a track record? Exactly.
Hell if bloggers theirselves had no idea of what to expect, how could New Line have any idea?
"So, back to "my problem". How can you continue to say blogging was a success from a business standpoint?"
Again, it's not that 'blogging' was a success, but that New Line's move to embrace their citizen marketers was a success.
That may seem like splitting hairs, but if don't get the distinction, you aren't going to understand the point I am trying to make.
And if you kept up with the discussion of the promotion of this movie prior to opening weekend, THAT was the concern that myself, and other marketers raised early on. Would the key lesson that New Line took from this be that embracing their community of fans works, or that 'internet hype' works? Sadly, the MSM latched onto this story as simply being 'internet hype', and now we are seeing bloggers such as yourself come out and saying that 'blogging didn't work'.
Again, New Line embraced their fans that were marketed this movie on the internet, and they responded by buying tickets to the movie. THAT is all you need to know. New Line embracing citizen marketers on the internet WORKED. That's something incredibly powerful and revolutionary that just happened, and it would be a shame to misrepresent the move as 'New Line tried to let blogging turn this into a box-office smash', and then decry that 'this shows that blogging doesn't work'.
Again, that's not what happened here. This was never about blogging saving SoaP, it was about New Line embracing their community, and that community responding.
It did. The community bought tickets, and told others about the fun they had.
- At 3:27 PM, Make the logo bigger said...
Count me as the one. Thumbs down on the movie. I’ll save the space here for a review later on my blog.
Why did you always assume people who questioned whether the marketing of the film was going to have an effect was directly related to whether they didn’t see or had no plans to see it?
Talking about the hype around a marketing or promotion technique shouldn't exclude someone from the discussion simply because they did or did not take part in what it was that was being hyped, be it a concert, film or other.
Embracing the community is one thing, but this was always supposed to be about effective new media tactics that drive sales, not who embraces those tactics.
Who cares who's on board if the blog doesn't work?
Chevy Tahoe embraced their community. That really turned out great.
"I think it's important to keep in mind that a very small percentage of the American public even knows what a blog is."
Maybe Spike, but if that's true, that really seems to undermine the whole point about new media being an effective force for this movie. New Line went after that crowd specifically as Mack has pointed out many times.
But if it's such a small number, what studio forgets about the rest of its potential audience to only go after a small percentage?
And then you give cred that the blogging community is large. I could read that as saying it's either large and effective or small and insignificant, not really sure which you mean.
- At 9:28 PM, Mack Collier said...
"Why did you always assume people who questioned whether the marketing of the film was going to have an effect was directly related to whether they didn’t see or had no plans to see it?"
Because I have yet to see any blogger that questioned the promotion of the movie, admit that they had seen it. What's even more telling, almost all of these bloggers that are ripping the movie's promotion, and that will admit to not seeing it, will say it was a 'bad product'.
That speaks volumes.