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!