Marketing works. Smart marketing works even better.

I'm pretty much done with SoaP, but did want to touch on something I've seen from some bloggers.

Jackie said this in her Snakes on a Plane: 5 Lessons For Marketers post:
Embracing citizen marketers reduces risk. Launching a new product is betting against huge odds: Over 80 percent of all new products fail. New Line reduced its risk by listening to fans who wanted more snakes, gore and f-bombs. Making $15 million in one weekend is disappointing how? (Silly media.) If New Line hadn't listened to fans and released a PG-13 film called "Pacific Air Flight 121," chances are no one would have talked about it, and it would have been just another low-brow Hollywood movie.

But today, Seth pops up with this:
I knew all about SOAP and had no desire whatsoever to go. I'm just not ready to sit in a theatre with a bunch of people afraid of airplanes.

I'm afraid we come back to something that marketers have been struggling with for a really long time--the best way to succeed is to have a really great product.

And another marketing truth is that you can't be all things to all people. SoaP wasn't aimed at Seth's demo, so it comes as no suprise that he never considered seeing it. Marianne and Tom didn't care for the 'buzz' around SoaP either. Course I bet they weren't the target demo either.

Teenagers and young adults, especially young males, seems like a much more likely target market for a movie about snakes on a plane, doesn't it? As luck would have it, teenagers and young adults who are social-media savvy, is the exact group that New Line reached out to, to help them promote SoaP. As the buzz grew, more and more bloggers jumped on board in support of New Line's brilliant move to empower their community.

New Line understood who SoaP's target market was, and they empowered them to market for them. That's why they reached out to Brian Finkelstein, and not Seth Godin. Brian's age group might enjoy SoaP, while Seth's probably wouldn't.

The bottom line is that Snakes on a Plane will very likely have completely covered its production and marketing costs by the time it goes to DVD. Any money made from that point on will more or less be pure profit. This happened because New Line empowered the people that SoaP would appeal to, and didn't waste their time trying to change the opinions of people like Seth, who were never interested in the product.

Some may call that 'bad' marketing, but I'm not one of them.


PS: Thanks again to those of you that have recently added The Viral Garden as one of your favorite blogs. Karl (Experience Curve), Dave (All Things Branding and Marketing), Anna (The Engaging Brand), and Lisa (Simple Essentials) have all added me in the last day. As a result, The Viral Garden is now just 3 favorites short of breaking into the Top 100 Most Favorited Blogs! If you want to help put TVG over the top, the deal again is, if you'll add TVG to your favorites, I will return the favor, and also link to your blog, as I just did for Karl, Dave, Anna, and Lisa! All you have to do is click on the logo below! Thanks guys!

UPDATE: Add my man Ryan (Adcouver) to the list! We are down to 2!


posted by Mack Collier @ 10:43 AM,

16 Comments:

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous CK said...

Thanks for pointing out the target demo point. I'm certainly not their primary segment but at the film's opening I was surrounded by the target demo and they felt they had true ownership of the film.

Why? Because the studio listened to their customers. I see THAT as the success story--and a lesson I will take to my clients.

Would it have been great if it grossed 50 million? Sure. Would I have been pleased if the film hit #1? Oh wait, it did :-).

While underwhelmed with NewLine's marketing (and pointed out some pitfalls to the film's promotion over at my blog), I fail to see the failure in embracing the community to participate in the process (or product).

Trends always start on the fringes--this trend just happened to have some snakes and a silly title to bolster it.

Plus, I'll always have fond memories of screaming with all the fun bloggers. Off my SoaPbox now.

 
At 7:28 PM, Anonymous David said...

Seth's quote resonates with me. The best marketing involves a great product (or experience).

For reasons I can't fully explain, I just had no interest in this whole thing. None whatsoever. Maybe I'm just a marketing prude.

 
At 7:42 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"Seth's quote resonates with me. The best marketing involves a great product (or experience)."

But does the fact that you and Seth didn't have an interest in this product mean that it was a 'bad' product? You probably love your motorcycle, but I could care less to own one. Does that make it a 'bad' product because I don't have an interest in it?

Again, I don't think either you or Seth (or me for that matter) are in the target market for SoaP. So it really shouldn't suprise anyone that you and Seth had no interest in the movie.

But I don't think you and Seth not being interested in SoaP means that it's a 'bad' product. Now if we were all 3 in the target market for this film, and we all thought it was bad, then New Line might have a problem on their hands.

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous CK said...

But doesn't the best product stem from providing the best experience? I think that's accomplished--and accomplished a larger % of the time--if we involve our customers from the outset.

Guys, I can only go on the feedback from the target market -- I've already listed what they said at the movie, including, "it was just cheesy enough", "I would recommend it to others" and "It was worth the $10".

I'm certainly no expert on that demo, but for what it's worth, that's what they said.

Like us all, I have a lot of interest in connecting with the markets via this new medium--so as to make even better products and give better service. Guess that's why I found this to be an important one to follow.

 
At 10:45 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

Mack,

I am the target. I love movies like this. Shaun of the Dead was brilliant. Wrong Turn, The Devil's Rejects. I'm a fan of campy, brainless B Horror movies. Always have been. Nothing I saw of SoaP interested me and no amount of community based marketing will help that.

The phone thingy was kind of cute though.

 
At 10:47 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

PS,

Keep in mind that I haven't seen it. But the point of it is that I haven't been motivated to. I'll do a review when it comes out on rental.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger marianne richmond said...

Mack, I have a full report directly from the target demo, my 13 year old son.
First of all, much to my surprise and amazement he asked me this morning if he could go see SoaP.

Why, I asked? Of course I am thinking, OMG, he wants to see Snakes on a Plane.

"Because I heard it was really stupid and I want to see what its all about," he said sheepishly.

I asked him who he was going with and he named 2 friends...they want to see how stupid it is too.

So, I drove him. Not only that, I paid.

And, I have to tell you, Mack....I felt a little sheepish myself. Because clearly all the hype, what he referred to as "I heard it was really stupid" had influenced my own son.

He had talked about it with his friends...well they don't actually talk of course, IMed about it; and probably there were more than 3 of them on line. This was word of mouth in real time. About SoaP.

So, I picked him up from the movie.And though it pains me to write this, he got in the car and said..."it was awesome!"

"It was," I said in disbelief.

"Yes, it was so bad it was hysterically funny."

So...there you have it. Snakes on a Plane, the comedy hit.

Now, I am not backing down from my position that word of mouth starts and ends with a great product or experience....I believe that.

Because if you have a great product or provide a great experience, people will talk about it, blog about it, recommend it and endorse it.

But, I think that SoaP did prove that hype can sell tickets to a {bad} movie, made it into an experience, just like you said Mack.

The target demo, or at least the sample size of 3 that I know agree with you....they were entertained. To paraphrase, maybe bad is the new good.

So, Mack, on this one point, I am conceeding. I was wrong. You were right. It was about the experience.

Marianne

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Thanks for the report Marianne. So does this mean the son got a movie AND Madden 07 today? Sounds like he owes mama big time now ;)

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger marianne richmond said...

Yep, it's true. He got both. You would have thought that Madden would have been enough of a media event for one day, wouldn't you?

Fortunately, he goes back to school soon because I don't think I can keep up the mighty mo.

Marianne

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous CK said...

Marianne: You're one cool mom that you let your son see it (being that it did have some racy parts and racy language).

Yep, it was was stupid and silly (that's what it promised) but it was an experience.

 
At 4:55 AM, Anonymous deb said...

Great job synthesizing the hoopla. I agree 100% agree. IMHO most folks were
missing the point.

For me, the excitement was not around the marketing but around creative involvement of the audience as a result of the marketing campaign.

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Make the logo bigger said...

Good points. Targets are key for studios to aim for.

But I have a problem with the implication that only teens and young adults are "social-media savvy." Seems like a narrow view.

22 mill sounds impressive. 15 week one and 6 week does not, unless the numbers turn upward. Otherwise, that's using an overall total to fit the arguement. I would wait for weeks three and four to see what the overall trend is shaping up to be.


"...chances are no one would have talked about it,"Pacific Air Flight 121,""

Perhaps, but hey went to see movies with boring names like Red Eye and Flightplan in very good numbers. And SoaP is still a low-brow movie. A popular blog doesn't change that. Wouldn't adding more snakes and F-bombs make it even more low-brow?

I go to a movie because I want to see a movie. If I want an event, well, I'll go to Six Flags. Only true 'event' movie I know of is the long-running Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Have to say though I really wouldn't want people throwing snakes at the screen while I'm trying to watch. It's bad enough with the cellphone crowd as it is.

Having the public have a say in what the actors in the movie will now say leads to a watered-down movie. Why should I pay for what someone in Iowa thinks Sam Jackson should say? I’m paying for the screenwriter and director’s version.

And for those fans who want to hear Sam Jackson swear more and have the studio listen?

All I can say is rent Pulp Fiction.

 
At 5:50 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"But I have a problem with the implication that only teens and young adults are "social-media savvy." Seems like a narrow view."

Who implied that?

"22 mill sounds impressive. 15 week one and 6 week does not, unless the numbers turn upward. Otherwise, that's using an overall total to fit the arguement. I would wait for weeks three and four to see what the overall trend is shaping up to be."

22 million after 2 weeks for a B-Movie is impressive. 6 million in week 2 for a B-Movie is impressive. Hell I would be impressed by 6 million in week ONE for a B-Movie.

"I go to a movie because I want to see a movie. If I want an event, well, I'll go to Six Flags."

So do you think you speak for the average person that attended SoaP?

"Having the public have a say in what the actors in the movie will now say leads to a watered-down movie. Why should I pay for what someone in Iowa thinks Sam Jackson should say? I’m paying for the screenwriter and director’s version."

I would see where this could be a problem, but in SoaP's case, it led to standing ovations.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Make the logo bigger said...

It's right here in the following:

"As luck would have it, teenagers and young adults who are social-media savvy, is the exact group that New Line reached out to, to help them promote SoaP.'

Why limit who you only think is your target when it could be a much broader audience. Pretty narrow view.


"So do you think you speak for the average person that attended SoaP?"

I speak for myself. Why should they speak for me. And why should they now have a voice in how the rest of us see a movie?

My view doesn’t affect the movie they see. Having it your way, their's affects mine.


As for six million being impressive, it is – on its own. But after a 15 mil prior weekend, do you not see any relationship there that suggests a less than positive trend?

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"It's right here in the following:

"As luck would have it, teenagers and young adults who are social-media savvy, is the exact group that New Line reached out to, to help them promote SoaP.'

Why limit who you only think is your target when it could be a much broader audience. Pretty narrow view."

You said: "But I have a problem with the implication that only teens and young adults are "social-media savvy." Seems like a narrow view."

Again, I never implied that young adults are the only social-media savvy group.

"So do you think you speak for the average person that attended SoaP?"

I speak for myself."

Exactly. Again I can't help but notice that the bloggers that are talking about this being a 'bad product', are the ones that haven't seen it, and never intended to, based on what they heard of the plot months ago.

"As for six million being impressive, it is – on its own. But after a 15 mil prior weekend, do you not see any relationship there that suggests a less than positive trend?"

SoaP's second weekend saw a 58% decline in sales.

For reference, Pirates lost 54% its second weekend.

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger Make the logo bigger said...

"Again, I never implied that young adults are the only social-media savvy group."

"Teenagers and young adults, especially young males, seems like a much more likely target market for a movie about snakes on a plane, doesn't it? As luck would have it, teenagers and young adults who are social-media savvy, is the exact group that New Line reached out to, to help them promote SoaP."


"That's why they reached out to Brian Finkelstein, and not Seth Godin. Brian's age group might enjoy SoaP, while Seth's probably wouldn't."

That pretty much implies an exclusion of anyone outside the youth market, not to mention the comments that the movie is outside of Seth, Marrianne's or Tom's demo.

But, some of the pro-SoaP blog people I've read sure look to be around Seth's age, (unless the CBS news art department pulled a Katy and somehow made them look older.)

Looks like similar age groups have differing opinions on the same movie.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home