To Market, To Market We Go: Film Franchise Campaign Strategies

5 Sep

3rd article in our 7- week series on Film Studios Marketing Tactics

Over the years, many film franchise campaigns have been marketed in many ways. Some films have excellent marketing strategies while others lack the passion to engage fans to view films. In this article, we will take a look at Harry Potter and Twilight. So get off your Firebolt and stop fighting in the woods, let’s look at what legacy these films have left on international cinema.

Within the Harry Potter franchise, J.K. Rowling took many steps to ensure that her material was marketed properly. First, she developed a strategic approach. Within this tatic, she knew what was going to happen to the characters and storyline. It is important to create goals and develop a strategy. Secondly, she allowed the fans to create viral campaigns in order build momentum for the stories. These campaigns are genuine because they come from the fans and not the author. Thirdly, she created multiple channels to reach her audience. Not only has she created the books but she also helped on the films. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Pottermore reach fans of many ages.

Her fourth step was to play off the audience’s personality. She understands the importance of giving hints to the audience and allowing the anticipation to build. The fifth and final step was to create a distinct brand. Everyone knows what the lightning bolt scar means when they see it. The films have one central theme song that is distinctly known to all fans.1

On to TwilightTwilight was marketed for the internet. In that way, the franchises match up on the second tactic of using viral campaigns. Very little marketing has been done for the Twilight Saga other than that. The saga seemed to reach its peak in marketing around The Twilight Saga: New Moon . There does not seem to be a distinct brand for Twilight other than selling “Robsten.”

With The Twilight Saga coming to an end and Harry Potter already finished, regardless of how these films were marketed. We all came together as a film community to enjoy films that emotionally spoke to us in our own ways. 2

Please join us for an open discussion Wednesday 9/5/2012-Friday 9/7/2012

Also see: Film Studios Marketing Tactics: Part 2

References:
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43 Responses to “To Market, To Market We Go: Film Franchise Campaign Strategies”

  1. Comic Relief September 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM #

    Paris,

    Thanks for an interesting article. You filled in some gaps in my knowledge about both series.

    I usually don’t consider the author of the book being a participant in film marketing efforts, yet I continuously hear people refer to J.K. Rowling as a genius. I wondered why?

    I always assumed it had more to with her reputation gained from participation in the literature industry not the film industry. On bookshelves, she was a best seller. She chose children’s fiction at a time when that genre was not considered particularly glamorous. And she even ignited interest in reading at a time when the practice was in decline.

    • Comic Relief September 5, 2012 at 9:47 AM #

      “These campaigns are genuine because they come from the fans and not the author.”

      After detailing many of her innovations, I think it’s amazing that you believe and expressed that viral campaigns launched by fans are more authentic than campaigns launched studios or directors. I hope you will explain why you feel this way and if possible present some of these campaigns at the discussion.

    • Comic Relief September 5, 2012 at 8:46 PM #

      I don’t know what happened to the prior link but this is what I originally posted.

    • ozzie20 September 6, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

      I think the same thing CR. JK Rowling is a genius when it comes to story telling. She’s created a very detailed world with intricate back stories for many of the charcters. Not only that but she has researched world history very well. Many of the names of the characters have a mythical or descriptive meaning that matches the character’s personality and/or journey.

      As for the films marketing I would say that she’s very wise and very smart. I think she knew what she wanted to focus on and had made sure she had the power to change things but I think the studio’s marketing department helped too.

  2. littlebells September 5, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

    Paris,

    What were the other “multiple channels” J.K. Rowlings used?

    Also, what of SMeyers hand in the Twilight marketing universe?

    • parisienne September 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM #

      http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/bd_parties.html

      I know that she didn’t have anything to do with the midnight releases at bookstores but people took it upon themselves to dress up. Also when Twilight was being made SM didn’t have a lot of say in what happen that’s why scenes were cut and why she became a producer at the end. Unlike Rowling, SM did not have any hand in the screenplay which IMO is key to how the story turns out. That’s also why Paulina is waiting on TBH because she wants her script to be used or at least researched.

      IMO, allowed way to many hands in the pot instead of taking control in beginning she and everyone involved are now dealing with the consquences.

  3. parisienne September 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM #

    http://www.mugglenet.com/

    http://www.harrypotterfans.com/

    http://hpotterfanart.tumblr.com/

    http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com/

    CR,

    These are some sites that are viral campaigns that are fan made. Regarding FF, J.K. encourages FF but does not allow people to make money off of their stories. There is some info on that here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/13/fan-fiction-fifty-shades-grey

    J.K. wanted to take legal action against a FF author that wrote a continuation story based on her characters and commercially released it but decided to drop the matter when fans spoke out against it.

    • Comic Relief September 5, 2012 at 8:42 PM #

      Paris,

      “…CAMPAIGNS ARE GENUINE…”
      I saw all of your links and ah; I think I now see. You believe that the audience and artistic performer relationship is an interactive one. I guess when fans begin to produce their own wiki’s, sites and blogs you believe they are fulfilling their part of the bargain by participating in the celebration of the characters, environments and mythology of the original works. I wondered whether you thought this by your statement you see the fan support as the completion of a kind of circle of interaction or relationship.

      So many believe the artistic performers or the artistic work is a kind of end in it or themselves; by comparison I agree it is less interesting than the connection you are discussing.

      • Comic Relief September 5, 2012 at 8:48 PM #

        Paris,

        I also understand what you seem to be saying about the world of fan fiction going too far. Thanks for the link to guardian’s “In the beginning, there was fan fiction: from the four gospels to Fifty Shades” article.

        Honestly the more I hear about fan fiction the less respect I have for it. Why can’t some “artists” accept that they might have to create on their own?

        I don’t think it is a bad idea for others to be provoked by the work of previous artists (as long as the original artist’s ideas and creations are respected) and obviously some literary entertainment depends on that. Gene Roddenberry is the author who is associated with the entire Star trek movie, TV and literary series and without these latter books many fans would not feel the mythology was continuing.

        Here’s an example of this fan obsession. William “Trekkers get a life!!!!!!” Shatner wrote some of these books?

      • parisienne September 5, 2012 at 11:37 PM #

        CR,

        The campaigns are genuine is from the first source in the article. not myself. however, I do agree with that statement. I have little respect for FF as well and have read very little ( and by that I mean one page) of it. I understand being inspired by someone’s work but don’t see the need to make their characters my own. That shows me that FF authors lack originality and imagination.

        Love the video about Harry Potter in Russia. IMO, Harry Potter is successful because the core storyline is one of having love for others, yourself, courage and strength. Readers were able to identify with all of those underlying emotions.

        The video about Star Trek is awesome. I didn’t know William Shatner was an author. 🙂

        • Comic Relief September 6, 2012 at 5:58 AM #

          Open book wondered whether that book writing deals were used to entice Shatner to keep coming to Star Trek conventions. Do you think that is plausible?

  4. Open Book September 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM #

    Wow! Great article and references Paris.

    The world of FF has become chopped up derivatives of derivatives. Its terrible soon the writing will resemble Dick & Jane “see spot run” children books.

  5. Open Book September 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM #

    Paris-

    Do u think Stephanie Myers would have gone along with the Robsten marketing campaign if she adapted the series herself?

    • parisienne September 5, 2012 at 11:45 PM #

      OB,

      Not to mean any disrespect toward SM but patience is a virtue and virtue is a gift. Had she been optioned by a more reputable studio. I don’t think “Robsten” would have happened because I don’t think Kristen would have ever been cast as Bella.

      Honestly, I don’t think SM knew how to adapt the series. If she did, she would have sought out professional opinions on how the industry works and not have given her books over to the first studio that offered her any money. SM got greedy. Instead of having a well thought out plan for her books and possible films she threw herself under the bus. I realize now that she does have her own production company but I think she learned the industry by walking straight into the fire.

      • Comic Relief September 6, 2012 at 6:03 AM #

        I don’t know that much about J.K. Rowling. Is there something about her background that made her as thoughtful as she was about the whole enterprise of Harry Potter. She was able to enter the children’s market and tell a story of adolescences coming of age without entering into too much of the territory that might make anyone anxious. I’m not as familiar with Potter books but I never heard that the series was obsessed about teen awkwardness, hormones, social ‘tween terrors, or maturing angst.

        Stephanie seemed to enter the same environment and suddenly the books discussed school transfer challenges, teen isolation, cliques and peer group misunderstandings, broken homes, different forms of high school success, suicide, depression, and eventually sex. Maybe I’m wrong but obviously Meyers wasn’t nearly as prepared to move into the areas of concern for this age group as Rowling.

        Eventually when Twilight started to sell Twihards to advertisers like Burger King etc., you have to wonder whether Meyers (herself a mother) even identified with the parents of her fans. Potter also marketed a lot of product for teens but for some reason it seemed a lot less manipulative and possibly far more connected to the story narratives.

        • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 7:20 PM #

          Paris-

          That’s a really great article u provided on FF. ITA with your statement regarding SM being too impatient. It seems JK Rowling, Paulina and other writers have more integrity toward preserving the literary world then SM. Her lack of experience in film and because she did not have other books prior to Twilight put her at the mercy of film studios. I think if she was an established writer prior to Twilight then she would not need to be validated as an artist. Now, because she had no integrity toward the literary world she has managed to create an entire group of people who don’t have any either. FF has become more popular than ever because of Twilight.

          • ozzie20 September 6, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

            I agree. I don’t think she likes that “robsten” over shadows the films and its story. But I don’t think she fought hard enough to keep control when. Whether that’s because she was lazy, greedy, badly advised or not being strong enough to negotiate, I don’t know. I think JK Rowling did fight for her story.

            • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:18 PM #

              Do u think Twilight has inspired alot of the FF craze?

              • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:33 PM #

                I think it did but the reason why it did, imo, is because of Robsten. If Rob and Kristen aren’t going to be together in real life then by God they are together on paper. That’s how 50 came about.

        • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:31 PM #

          CR,

          I was replying to you and don’t know what happened to it so I shall do it again. 🙂

          J.K. Rowling used to be an English teacher. Here is her bio: http://www.essortment.com/j-k-rowling-biography-20784.html

          So I would assume that she would know the correct way to tell a story so she could teach others.

          SM on the other hand, to my knowledge has only taken an English class in college and at the end of the class had to write something to pass.

          However, you can tell the difference in the writing between the two women is incredible. J.K. completely immerses the reader into the world that she has created. IMO, the way SM wrote the Saga as well as The Host is like this: The beginning, this happened, that happened, then this happened oh and that happened too. The end. The Saga and The Host were not very well thought out.

          This is strictly JMO, but SM also put her own beliefs into the story. If she wanted to write a book on Mormonism she should have done so and left her beliefs out of her narrative.

          • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:54 PM #

            I all honesty not all franchises are created equal and not all marketing campaigns for them are successful. I do realize artist need to do what they have to do to get ahead but once they do then it’s time to question why u want to be popular? What are u doing to contribute to society etc..?

            • Comic Relief September 7, 2012 at 11:48 AM #

              Now I get it she wasn’t just a writer but she was an English and French teacher. Meaning she had a responsibility to care about the students she taught.

              I can see why the differences between she and Stephanie Meyers are as great as they are.

              In the beginning, I used to think Steven King and Anne Rice were especially cruel to her, yet now I see that, as long time supporters of the art and craft, they probably judged her accurately.

  6. parisienne September 6, 2012 at 12:12 PM #

    Since we’re discussing marketing tatics and fauxmances are a marketing tatic and we all know rob and kristen are in one. Here’s some information as to why celebrities would enter into a fauxmance.

    http://loveandknuckles.com/2010/01/why-celebrities-fake-date-explanations-from-a-publicist.html

    Given these reasons in the article how do you think this helps/hurts rob and kristen?

    • littlebells September 6, 2012 at 8:11 PM #

      I’m too much a lady to say. 😉

      • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

        LB,

        Just say it! Put it out in the universe!

  7. Open Book September 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM #

    How do you think these helps/hurts rob and kristen?

    I have a critical view on this that might seem harsh.

    Today these fauxmance stunts only work if the actor has some talent or substance up stairs to sustain interest. Otherwise once the fauxmance ends so does their career. The worst thing is to see an actor who either has no talent or brains become a fauxmance test dummy. Really, if an actor depends more on fauxmances/scandal rather than their talent, then they are nothing more than coat hangers.

  8. Open Book September 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

  9. ozzie20 September 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    Great article, Paris! 🙂

  10. parisienne September 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

    Hi All!

    Thanks Ozzie!

    • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 8:49 PM #

      Hi!

      • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:04 PM #

        are you still here?

        • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:11 PM #

          Paris-

          I wanted to ask u what u thought about SM and her producing.

          • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:18 PM #

            I know she has her own company FickelFish productions. TBH, I don’t follow SM anymore, I did when Twilight was hot but I read The Host and found it to be lacking in depth. I was extremely bored with it, I almost did not finish it. I pushed through hoping something would happen with any conflict and nothing happened. So to me and i know this is harsh to say but SM is a one hit wonder. She got greedily lucky.

            • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:23 PM #

              That’s what I don’t understand why didn’t she concentrate on writing a good book rather than becoming a film producer? I thought the Host was horrible.

              • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

                I wasted my life reading The Host. IMO, she didn’t better herself because she saw she didn’t have to. As long as what she writes sells why bother?

                • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:43 PM #

                  hahahaha! When I read the first chapter I wanted to staple my own eyelids shut. Then it had the nerve to be 5,000 pages. Come on!!

                  • parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:48 PM #

                    ita. i gave her a chance but in all honesty she can’t write.

  11. parisienne September 6, 2012 at 8:55 PM #

    hey!

  12. Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:08 PM #

    I’m keeping quiet and lurking. Sorry!

  13. parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:11 PM #

    its cool! no worries. continue lurking and i shall answer questions. 🙂

  14. parisienne September 6, 2012 at 9:53 PM #

    Everyone,

    I’m going to go for the night but I will be back tomorrow!

    • Open Book September 6, 2012 at 9:56 PM #

      Goodnight Paris!

      I’m going to go as well. Great article and discussion. TC!

      • Comic Relief September 7, 2012 at 12:04 PM #

        This topic was very helpful Paris. Thanks.

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