Film Marketing
eBook - ePub

Film Marketing

Finola Kerrigan

  1. 188 pagine
  2. English
  3. ePUB (disponibile sull'app)
  4. Disponibile su iOS e Android
eBook - ePub

Film Marketing

Finola Kerrigan

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Informazioni sul libro

The role of the film marketer is both vital and challenging. Promotion is one of the industry's biggest costs, with the campaign of a large film costing up to half its production budget. Box office results, however, are wildly unpredictable: relatively few films a year make a profit. These market conditions make this a unique industry and film marketing a specific and demanding skill set that requires attention early in the career of any marketing student looking to progress in the industry.

This new edition of Film Marketing is a thorough update of the first textbook in film promotion. Like in the first edition, Kerrigan takes a socio-cultural, as well as a business view of film marketing and its impact, covering different approaches to promotion according to different aims and audiences internally and externally, and across the world. This book addresses all areas of film marketing from the rigorous perspective of someone with first-hand knowledge of the trade. This new edition also includes:

  • Additional pedagogy and visual examples to reinforce key points

  • A more international range of cases and coverage of non-Western markets to give a global overview of film marketing across the world

  • New and expanded sections on social media, digital promotion, transmedia and crowdfunding

This is the original film marketing text which no engaged film or marketing student should be without.

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1 Introduction

Nobody knows anything … Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.
(William Goldman, 1983)
It is great to have the opportunity to update the first edition of this book on film marketing because the film marketing landscape has undergone a number of exciting changes since the first edition was completed. Keeping the words of screenwriter William Goldman in mind, nobody knows anything. However, as the research undertaken for this book showed, many, many people know an awful lot. This book cannot do justice to all the great research that has been undertaken in the area of film marketing and wider complementary fields, and it is not intended to. This book is an attempt to bring together a great deal of that knowledge to assist scholars and students of film marketing. As I noted in the first edition, film marketing in many respects lags behind marketing trends in a number of other industries, and this is particularly the case with relation to the creative and innovative practices involved in film marketing. Like in the first edition, this chapter, as the opening scene for this book on film marketing, will follow the format of all good opening scenes. In doing so it will introduce the key characters of the book: marketing and the film industry. In positioning this book, as all good marketers should, in film terms it is a crossover. Although its core audience is quite niche, i.e. students, researchers and academics with an interest in the marketing elements of film, there is a desire for the book to ‘crossover’ into other audience groups, those with an interest in film more broadly and marketers from other sectors who are curious about the world of film marketing. The readership of the first edition was very wide and it is hoped that this revised edition will also succeed in crossing over beyond the core audience of scholars of film marketing.
As volume after volume has already been written about marketing – what it is, what it is not and what it could or should be – I will not rehearse all these debates. For that reason, readers may well dispute the presentation of marketing within these pages. My presentation of marketing theory is derived from my study of film marketing and from the elements of marketing and wider management theory that I see as helpful in understanding film marketing processes. Like all areas of marketing, film marketing concerns both the production and the consumption of film and this dual focus is present in this book. One key change from the first edition lies in the additional focus on co-production, which comes from innovations within the field of both marketing and, latterly, of film marketing. In this book, film marketing, or the marketing of film, is viewed as concerned primarily with how filmmakers and marketers position the film within the minds of consumers in order to encourage consumption of their film. Scholars of audience reception studies, film studies and related areas have studied film consumption from a number of perspectives and this book will refer to these studies, but it does not claim to develop theories of audience reception. Rather, the focus on consumers is concerned with how consumers interpret the marketing messages projected by filmmakers and marketers and how this influences selection and enjoyment of film and on recent technological developments that have seen the relationship between filmmakers and consumers of film deepen.
The advantage of writing a book on film marketing is that it is possible to draw very widely on literature that can aid our understanding of film marketing processes without the constraints of submission to a high quality journal. The nature of contemporary academic life, which gives rhetorical credence to the idea of interdisciplinary work, means that academics wishing to publish their workin good quality journals must adhere to the orthodoxy of that journal. This in itself often informs the research design employed by the researcher, the literature they draw on in constructing their analytical and theoretical framework and in contextualising their research results. This results in various silos of ‘knowledge’ being produced. Studies examining box office data in order to look for success factors draw upon other such studies; studies looking at the impact of award ceremonies look at previous studies about award ceremonies and so on. Consumer researchers may not give great consideration to those looking at the business-to-business elements of film marketing, and film marketing scholars often ignore memoirs of film professionals, film studies scholarship and sociological analyses of film consumption. Similarly, many authors examining ‘film marketing’ from other disciplines such as film studies or cultural studies, or even strategy and management, do not engage with the marketing literature on this subject. In this way, many isolated pockets of film marketing knowledge co-exist without the benefit of cross-reference.
Although marketing theorists draw heavily upon sociology, psychology and economics and, more recently, cultural studies among other disciplines, there is a substantial body of work in the marketing field that must be considered in examining film marketing and consumption. Some previous authors have written about film marketing without considering the link between marketing theory and film marketing practices or fully understanding the all-encompassing nature of the marketing function.
Finally, there are many books providing more practical insights into film marketing that are very useful to film marketing practitioners, but discount considerations of the wider macro-environmental issues that impact upon film marketing. For those interested in the ‘why’ of film marketing as well as the ‘how’, this book is an attempt to provide such a link and to illustrate the relevance of marketing – specifically arts marketing theories – to our understanding of the marketing practices evident in the film industry.

What is marketing?

Marketing as a field of practice and an academic discipline is a contentious area. This is partly due to the perception of marketing as finding ways in which to sell things to people that they do not want or need. Looking to Brown (2006), marketing has been blamed for many social ills such as obesity, consumerism, psychological ills, etc. and many critics of marketing and critical marketers have examined the dark side of marketing. In addition to this recognition of ‘the dark side’ of marketing (Hirschman, 1991), there are various views on the historical development of the marketing function or marketing practice and there are tensions between those aligning themselves to the marketing management approach, critical marketing, post-modern marketing, relationship marketing, experiential marketing, green marketing, anti-marketing and so on. Rather than discuss these various approaches to marketing, I acknowledge the various scholarly approaches to the study and interpretation of marketing. This chapter and the remainder of the book will introduce some of these theories and approaches that have particular relevance for the study of film marketing.
In writing this book, the starting point was film marketing practice and observing these practices prompted me to explore different marketing literatures as well as research from film studies, audience reception studies, cultural studies and other areas of management. Rather than start with generic marketing theories and assess their appropriateness for application to the film industry, I have evaluated film marketing practices through an interpretive lens informed by these various literatures. This book is an attempt to introduce and explore film marketing practices with the aid of existing research as well as to set out future research questions in the area of film marketing.
The starting point for this discussion of marketing theory is exchange theory. Marketing as exchange was written about by Bogozzi (1975) and has provided a useful framework for marketing academics. The marketing management school mainly emanates from US business schools and has viewed marketing as ‘the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals’ (AMA definition cited in Grönroos, 1994: 347). Following this, the AMA (American Marketing Association) launched a new definition of marketing at their 2004 Summer Educators’ Conference: ‘Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders’ (AMA, n.d.). This change in definition reflects the movement of marketing academics and practitioners towards a more relational approach to marketing. Such a relational approach has been problematic in its application to film marketing due to the general lack of such a direct relationship between filmmakers and the audience for their film – a relationship that is mediated by various intermediaries who have provided access for filmmakers to the limited market. However, developments in the use of social media by filmmakers and film marketers have opened up the possibility for film marketing to take a more relational turn, as will be explored later in this book. In 2007, the AMA once again revisited their definition of marketing in recognition that marketing was not merely a function, but rather a set of practices which can be undertaken throughout an organisation. The current definition states that ‘Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large’ (AMA, n.d.). This broad scope definition suits the scope of this book and consideration will be given throughout the following chapters to all those areas of marketing in the context of the film industry.
The marketing concept that has dominated marketing since the 1960s has been defined by Felton (1959: 55) as ‘a corporate state of mind that insists on the integration and coordination of all the marketing functions which, in turn, are melted with all other corporate functions, for the basic purpose of producing maximum long range corporate profits’. Drucker (1954) emphasised the need to place customer satisfaction at the centre of the marketing concept, with profit being achieved as a reward for attaining customer satisfaction, and marketing scholars such as Kotler have continued the call for the customer to be at the centre of marketing activities. However, when it comes to the marketing of the arts or within the cultural and creative industries, such notions of putting the customer at the centre becomes contested. One of the basic elements of the ‘customer as king’ philosophical approach to marketing is to find out what the customer wants, and therefore there is a clear tension between this approach and the process of product development and marketing in the film industry, in common with other arts sectors. However, recent global box office trends and financing practices among Hollywood studios indicate that the customer-centric approach may be informing marketing practice in the film industry to an increasing degree. Although it will be necessary to make some generalisations regarding film marketing and filmmaking in this book, it is important to point out from the outset that industry rules diverge based on whether they are dictated by Hollywood studios or a more independent spirit of filmmaking. As discussed in this book, contemporary Hollywood is viewed as risk averse. The marketing concept and customer-centric approach dominate and the interpretation of this approach is to develop ‘me too’ products, tried and tested genres, prequels, sequels and adaptations of other cultural products that have a proven audience. Conversely, filmmakers not following the Hollywood studio approach can be viewed as subscribing to the much criticised product approach where the producers are focused on making the film, without considering the market for the film. Once the film is completed, issues of marketing and consumption of the film are considered, but this is a rather simplistic analysis of the film marketing process. Although consumers are rarely consulted prior to the development of a film script, at various stages in a project’s development, market-sensing activities are undertaken. Some of these practices are embedded within the practice of film professionals to such an extent that they are not explicit, while others are explicitly undertaken. This book will unpick these practices in order to illustrate that filmmakers and marketers are also subject to some standard marketing practices, as well as highlighting the differences apparent when marketing artistic products, such as film, rather than more mainstream products or services.
Moving forward from considerations of ‘putting the customer first’ or ‘exchanging value’ with the consumer, Vargo and Lusch’s (2004) paper, which proposed a ‘New Dominant Logic for Marketing’, and the many papers following this have placed the discussion of the merging of what we formerly considered the goods/service divide. One of the central developments from this body of work is the acceptance of the notion that value can only be created and acknowledged by the consumer in the act of consumption. It is in the act of consumption that value is recognised and embodied. Value can only be evaluated in terms of the consumption experience. In this way, marketing theorists have moved from central ideas of value in exchange to value in use. This book centralises the notion of film having a value in use rather than an abstract value – because film can play a number of roles – but it must be consumed in order for that value to be articulated and made real. Moving on from outmoded ideas of consumers as being ‘done to’, Vargo and Lusch (2006: 44) reworked their notion of ‘co-production’ from their earlier 2004 paper. Vargo and Lusch (2006) began to refer to the customer as ‘co-creator of value’. This develops their earlier theory of ‘co-production’, which they acknowledged was more appropriate for a production-centred approach, rather than service-centred approach. Preece et al. (2016) looked at how value is established in the visual arts, and drawing on the New Dominant Logic, they argued that such considerations of value must account for understanding the power of various actors within the industry. This is also the case for film because value may well be in use. This value is related to how consumers make sense of film (Chapter 7). How a film is positioned to the consumer, in terms of the marketing campaign is examined in Chapters 6 and 8. Chapter 8 also covers how value is interpreted by reviewers (professional and non-professional) and in what way it will impact on how the film is evaluated by the consumer. My study of film marketing began by studying the activities of film makers and film marketers which fed into what I classified as film marketing. This involved considerations of how these actors conceived of the consumer and their perceptions of value. Much of the film marketing activities which an organisation engages in presume that there is value in use and market research aims to find out what that value is.
Much of the rhetoric surrounding the marketing focus and the subsequent marketing orientation that companies adopt as a result of this orientation focuses on the needs and wants of the customer. As noted earlier, it is here that arts marketing researchers encounter problems. How do the ideas of customer satisfaction fit compatibly with the creation of artistic works? Are existing theories of marketing sufficiently broad to deal with marketing in the creative industries? In answer to these questions, researchers including Brown (2006), Fillis (2004), O’Reilly (2004), O’Reilly and Kerrigan (2010, 2016), O’Reilly et al. (2013), O’Reilly et al. (2014) and Rentschler (1999, 2004) have tried to redefine marketing theory in order to provide useful frameworks for the analysis of marketing the arts or creative industries. In the first edition of this book, I identified a problem facing arts marketing researchers when looking at literatures on market orientation because I questioned their transferability to the arts sector. However, current practices in Hollywood studios imply a market orientation, with future decisions resting on the performance of films with similar characteristics. How such characteristics are defined may lead to a short-sighted approach to market orientation. For example, Paul Feig, director of box office hit Bridesmaids (2011), Spy (2015) and the all-female lead version of Ghostbusters (2016), has spoken about the pressure he feels for his films to be successful because studios are overly cautious about female-led or female-leaning stories. Chapters 7 and 8 consider gender bias in user-generated and critical reviews that may feed into this caution. Rather than viewing Bridesmaids as a madcap comedy that happened to feature female stars in the leading roles, it was viewed as a film for women and, as such, a measure of the overall demand for women’s films.
When considering the application of the concept of market orientation to the area of film marketing we must assess the appropriateness of the seminal articles by Narver and Slater (1990) and Kohli and Jaworski (1990). Narver and Slater (1990) conceive of market orientation as culturally constructed and focused on meeting consumer needs and wants, and therefore gaining competitive advantage. In contrast, Kohli and Jaworski (1990) adopted a behavioural approach that concentrated on the process of understanding the consumer’s wants and needs through engaging in extensive information collection. The complication when trying to apply this to the film marketing domain is that although it is possible to collect and analyse data on past consumption of consumers, each film is an original experiential product that may appeal to a consumer against their expectations. This makes it difficult for filmmakers and marketers to adopt a market orientation. As will be discussed later, world events, other films released around the same time and so on can all influence film consumption and the product development process can be very long.
However, it may not be necessary to turn away completely from the marketing concept in order to examine film marketing. If customer satisfaction is seen as the ultimate goal of market orientation (Kotler, 2002) it can be seen as compatible with film marketing aims. It is the process by which this satisfaction is achieved that needs to be reconceptualised following developments in the marketing literature discussed earlier, as well as key theoretical debates in the consumer theory literature, which are discussed later. Consumer satisfaction cannot be achieved through asking consumers what they want to watch films about and then making them, but it can be achieved by making films that are of high technical and/or artistic value and positioning these films appropriately in order to appeal to the target market. If a broad view is taken, we can state that companies or filmmaking collectives can possess a market orientation in the film industry if their focus is upon identifying and targeting an appropriate audience and satisfying the expectations of this audience. As films are made to be watched (consumed), there is a need to focus on the audience. This, however, does not imply a need to ‘give them what they want’, but ...

Indice dei contenuti

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Table of Contents
  6. List of figures
  7. List of tables
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. 1 Introduction
  10. 2 The origins and development of the film industry
  11. 3 Market research in the film industry
  12. 4 The film marketing mix
  13. 5 Bringing the consumer in
  14. 6 Traditional film marketing materials
  15. 7 Consumer selection of films
  16. 8 Critical reception
  17. 9 Distribution
  18. 10 Marketing through film
  19. 11 Conclusions
  20. References
  21. Films