You can't outsmart the community

Tara be sayin' this:
No amount of money, pressure, cleverness, 'viralness', advertising, MySpace pandering, p.r., community building, or 'story' telling, etc. can save a crappy product. People don't give a flying snake.

But but but....that doesn't apply to Snakes on a Plane, does it? SoaP is going to be a crappy movie. I know it. You know it. Sam knows it.

But we're all going to see it anyway.

So at this point either Tara is right (which means we are all idiots for paying good money for what we know will be a bad movie), or Tara's wrong.

Or perhaps there's a Door #3. Maybe Tara is right, but we aren't going to see a crappy movie.

When New Line decided to embrace the buzz that bloggers were generating for SoaP, the movie went from being New Line's crappy B-movie, to our crappy B-movie. And it became our event. It became our excuse to have a party. To dress up in costumes and engage in audience participation a la Rocky Horror Picture Show. It became our meme that's going offline.

New Line's reaction to bloggers 'promoting' SoaP is the antithesis to Coke's reaction over the Mentos geyser videos. Where Coke 'didn't approve' of their customers playing with Coke, New Line saw the jokes that bloggers were making via mashup trailers and posters as being 'promotion' for SoaP. And when they embraced what the internet was doing in 'promoting' SoaP, a shift took place, and then perception became reality, and bloggers started promoting SoaP for real.

If you don't like your community's reaction to your product, do NOT tell them to change their actions, give them a reason to do so.

That's what New Line did. And that's why a very bad movie will likely break even after its first weekend.

posted by Mack Collier @ 8:48 PM,


At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Paul McEnany said...

Man, you just said it the best I've heard. I've just been keeping it to myself that I thought this movie would suck, and probably suck real bad.

But your post shed a little light on the whole thing. Yeah, it'd be great if they had made an amazing movie and marketed it this way, but by involving their audience, they at least gave it a fighting chance.

Now, if only someone would come along and put the two together.

At 2:30 AM, Blogger Asi said...

Hear Hear.

It goes back to what Karl wrote a couple of days ago (
about the way you should handle your viral marketing and the idea of monitor and respond. New Line were smart in both. They were tuned to the buzz and managed it in a very good manner. Most importantly they didn't seek any ownership of the meme but rather allowed people to take it to different places.

Sometimes we like to enjoy the silly and crappy (see the Hoff all over, lip-synching, mentos-cock) and, increasingly the key to success online is NOT TELLING YOUR COMMUNITY WHAT TO DO OR WHAT NOT TO DO.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger miss rogue said...

Yep. But SoaP isn't about the movie, duh.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Paul it's funny because I'm reading a lot of bloggers saying 'But what happens if everyone goes to this movie, and it really DOES suck?!?'. Course on the flipside, I've yet to see the first blogger say that Soap was going to be a great MOVIE. Great FUN maybe, but not a great movie.

Asi it's the whole 'clearing a path' idea again. New Line saw what the community was doing, and made it easier for them to continue doing it.

Tara that seems to be a pretty snippy reply, you did see where I said you were right, right?


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