Craig and the Camel May Be Gone, But Transactional Marketing Still Going Strong

For me, the pinnacle of marketing at the height of the DVD era was Craig Kornblau on a camel.

It was the heyday of event marketing. DVD had become such a monstrous success that disc revenues were outpacing theatrical. DVD potential was even a factor in deciding whether to greenlight movies.

No wonder, then, that at a time when a hot new DVD release could sell 20 million copies or more, just in the first week, the release of a big theatrical film on disc was hailed as a big event — and marketed accordingly.

I remember Disney’s gala launch party for the Ratatouille DVD, with more than a thousand guests crowding a ballroom at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel for a gastronomical feast.

I remember flying to London for a party to celebrate New Line Home Video’s release of the Lost in Space movie.

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I remember Warner Home Video’s Superman party, where I joked to then-president Ron Sanders that the shindig probably cost the studio more than they were spending on advertising with Home Media Magazine all year.

I remember being flown to London by PolyGram to celebrate the DVD release of Phantom of the Opera, as well as three Super Bowls (thanks, Bill Sondheim!) to drum up excitement for the subsequent NFL Super Bowl DVD.

And then there was Craig Kornblau and the camel. The “event” was the 2002 DVD release of The Scorpion King, and amid a throng of beefy warriors, belly dancers and flame explosions I remember looking up and seeing Kornblau, at the time president of Universal Studios Home Video, and his top marketing executive, Ken Graffeo, riding down Sunset Boulevard on a pair of massive dromedaries. A Los Angeles Times article from October 2002 picks up the story from there: “Moments later, the entire caravan, writhing women, camels and all, crossed Sunset Boulevard to the Virgin Megastore across the street, where confused shoppers were rapidly overrun by belly dancers, snake handlers and jugglers.”

The reporter quoted Kornblau as saying the studio hoped to generate earn more than $36 million in the first week of sales, more than the first week of box office for the film’s theatrical release.

These days, physical and digital sales of movies, even combined, area fraction of DVD sales 20 years ago, due to the rise and domination of subscription streaming.

And yet studio marketers continue to “eventize” new transactional releases, although invariably some, if not most, of a campaign’s components take place virtually, often through tie-ins with social media influencers.

In this year’s Power Marketing report, our fourth annual look at the top marketing campaigns of the past year, we profile nearly a dozen standouts from the major studios — and as you’ll see, creativity and ingenuity are certainly not in short supply. Universal Studios Home Entertainment, for example, launched F9 into the home market by getting stars Vin Diesel and Ludacris to share custom content on their Instagram accounts, followed by F9 Fest, a huge press and social media influencer event with interviews, a rooftop zipline stunt experience and even an F9 museum, featuring vehicles from the film.

And Paramount celebrated the 50thanniversary of The Godfather, and the landmark film’s 4K Ultra HD debut, with all sorts of creative executions, strategic partnerships and publicity events. A press screening on the studio lot was preceded by a panel discussion with director Francis Ford Coppola and stars James Caan and Talia Shire — along with a street-naming celebration and the presentation of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Coppola.

Craig and his camel may be long gone, but “eventizing” home releases is certainly still a “thing.

Lionsgate Promotes David Edwards to EVP of Global Marketing

Lionsgate has promoted David Edwards to EVP of global marketing.

In his new role, Edwards will oversee creative, digital and strategy for the studio’s global motion picture marketing department. He will report to Marisa Liston, the studio’s president of global marketing.

Edwards most recently served as SVP of global marketing strategy, where he developed data-based marketing strategies, led campaign execution, and oversaw high-profile content production on campaigns for films including “The Hunger Games” franchise, the Academy Award-winning La La Land, Wonder, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and Knives Out. He is currently working on The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, starring Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal; the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 4; White Bird: A Wonder Story, the followup to the 2017 hit Wonder; Borderlands, starring Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jack Black; About My Father, starring Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, an adaptation of the Judy Blume classic, from writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig and producer James L. Brooks; and the untitled Adele Lim comedy project, among many other films.

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“David is one of the most talented and thoughtful marketing executives I have ever met,” Liston said in a statement. “His strategic approach and impeccable instincts are born from his endless curiosity and wealth of experience … not to mention he is truly a fan of cinema. I am incredibly lucky to have him as a partner and I am thrilled to recognize his work with this promotion.”

Edwards’ award-winning work has included responsibility for digital and strategic marketing efforts across all of the studio’s tentpole franchises and major theatrical film releases since 2012. He has worked with talent across a wide array of initiatives, including creative advertising, digital marketing and social media, tech partnerships, branded content integrations, and international marketing.

He spearheaded the marketing strategy for the “John Wick” franchise. Other title campaigns in which he was instrumental include Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the “Hitman’s Bodyguard” films, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor, “The Expendables” franchise, Sicario and Hacksaw Ridge.

Before joining Lionsgate, Edwards worked at Beverly Hills-based social media and digital creative agency Digital Media Management. While there, he helped to establish the agency’s theatrical film marketing division, working on creative social media campaigns across multiple studio clients. Edwards began his career as a freelance designer, video editor and event producer in the San Diego area, having graduated from San Diego State University in 2007 with a B.S. in film and new media production.

Movies Anywhere Offering Exclusive ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Clip to Movie Purchasers

Digital locker service Movies Anywhere is offering an exclusive, never-before-seen Spider-Man: No Way Home bonus clip to consumers who purchase the Sony Pictures film from any retailer connected to the service.

The eight-minute bonus clip, titled “Spider-Man and the Multiverse in Marvel Comics,” can be unlocked through the Movies Anywhere platform. The clip features behind-the-scenes interviews with the film’s producers, including Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and co-producer Chris Buongiorno, who talk about how the movie harkens back to the original comics.  

The offer is good through April 11.

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After purchasing the film, consumers will find the bonus content in the “My Extras” section of “My Movies” within the Movies Anywhere platform.


Vudu Offering Exclusive Clip and Themed Gift Cards for ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

Vudu is mounting an exclusive clip and offering gift cards for its top-selling pre-order title of all time, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home, which arrives for digital purchase in SD, HDX and 4K UHD March 15.

The exclusive clip is titled “Getting the Spiders Together” and features never-before-seen on-set footage of Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire with Willem Dafoe and Benedict Cumberbatch. The exclusive clip also includes commentary from Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts and producer Kevin Feige.

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The Spider-Man: No Way Home Vudu gift cards feature 14 new designs.

Consumers can purchase Spider-Man: No Way Home as a standalone title at $19.99, as part of the Tom Holland “Spider-Man” three-film collection at $34.99 or as part of the “Spider-Man” eight-film bundle at $59.99.

Netflix to Be Featured in an Exhibit at London Museum

Netflix has announced a new partnership with the Design Museum in London — a museum devoted to contemporary design — for a new exhibit celebrating the service’s “design journey,” according to a blog post by Steve Johnson, Netflix VP of product and studio design.

“Our new immersive exhibition will take a closer look at the key elements of the Netflix experience, its evolution over time, and our underpinning design philosophy,” Johnson wrote. “The exhibit will also showcase this design journey from a different perspective through fan favourites.

“When something is designed well, it makes life easier, gives us joy and brings people together. And just like entertainment, design can fundamentally change the way we live our lives. 

“At Netflix, building an intuitive, seamless experience has been at the heart of our business for the last 25 years: from our very early days as a mail-order DVD company, to our role today bringing entertainment to homes and devices around the world. Design plays a key role in connecting our members with great stories.”

It’s Netflix’s 10th year in the United Kingdom, he noted.

“We couldn’t think of a better moment to look back at the evolution of the Netflix experience and celebrate our journey together,” he wrote.

Derek Stubinski Named MVD Director of Publicity and Marketing

Derek Stubinski has been appointed director of publicity and marketing at content distributor MVD Entertainment Group.

Stubinski, a 14-year veteran of the company, replaces Clint Weiler, who is leaving MVD.

Derek Stubinski

“I look forward to thriving in this new position and broadening MVD’s horizons,” Stubinski said in a statement. “I’m particularly excited to expand upon Clint’s previous press efforts and relationships. It’s a tall order, but I never back down from a challenge.”

“These are some mighty shoes to fill; Clint has been so great for us for so long and we hate to see him go,” Ed Seaman, COO of MVD, said in a statement. “That said, we’ve got all the confidence in the world that Derek will not only take this role over but grow the department. Wishing Clint the very best with his new endeavors.”

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“After 20-plus excellent years, I have departed MVD to join Z2 Comics where I will serve as the VP of collectibles,” Weiler said in a statement. “I’m very grateful for the time I spent with MVD — nearly half my life. They gave me a shot way back in 2001 as a fresh-out-of-college 22 year old with a passion for music, and a strong desire to work in the industry. Without that chance, there’s no telling what line of work I’d be in. It has really been a terrific ride.”

Vudu, Olive Garden Offering ‘Dinner and a Movie to Go’ Gift Cards

Transactional digital service Vudu and Olive Garden are offering Dinner and a Movie to Go gift cards, with $25 toward home entertainment on Vudu and $25 towards Italian food to go from Olive Garden.

Dinner and a Movie to Go gift cards are currently available at Sam’s Club and H-E-B stores.

Vudu also has a line of digital gift cards, featuring characters from No Time to Die and Venom 2, available for a limited time here. Starting Nov. 24, consumers can get 20% off online gift card orders of $50 or more (excluding Dinner and a Movie to Go) through the end of the month.

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Also, during Thanksgiving week, Vudu is hosting a “Watch a Movie on Us” promotion. For this week only, consumers who spend $20 towards movies and TV shows on Vudu will get a Vudu movie rental (up to $8 in value). The offer ends Nov. 29.

Thanksgiving sales on movies and TV series seasons this week will include the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II (each for $9.99), plus discounts on recent hits such as Free Guy, The Suicide Squad, Wrath of Man, Black Widow, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Snake Eyes and bundles such as the “A Quiet Place” two-movie collection, the “Saw” nine-film collection and the complete series of TV’s “Friends,” with more discounts expected on Black Friday.

Vudu Offering Gift Cards, Preorder Deal on ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’

Vudu has a deal for customers who preorder Venom: Let There Be Carnage, arriving Nov. 23 for digital purchase at $19.99.

Those who preorder the movie on the service by Nov. 22 get a $3 Vudu promo code to use toward additional movies. Details are here. 

Vudu is also offering a line of “Venom”-themed gift cards to gift the movie to friends and family.

The Marvel Comics-based superhero film, available in SD, HDX and 4K Ultra HD on Vudu, stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris and Woody Harrelson. In the film, Eddie Brock (Hardy) interviews serial killer Cletus Kasady (Harrelson), who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage.

Vudu’s YouTube channel features an exclusive clip of Hardy’s Eddie Brock and his alien symbiote Venom talking about their unique friendship on the beach.

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‘Shang-Chi’ Debuts for Digital Purchase on Vudu With Exclusive Clip

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has debuted on Vudu for digital purchase, and the service is offering free access to an exclusive extended clip of nine minutes with stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina and Tony Leung here.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to purchase at $19.99 and available in UHD/HDX. 

The 25th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Liu in the title role, a hero who must face the past he thought he left behind and confront his father Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), leader of the dangerous Ten Rings organization.

The film also stars Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Michelle Yeoh.

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Vudu Bows ‘No Time to Die’ Gift Cards

For the Nov. 9 premium digital rental debut of the new James Bond thriller No Time to Die, Vudu is offering customers the option of gifting the film via a No Time to Die-themed digital gift card.

The film is available on Vudu as a $19.99 premium rental. 

Vudu users can select their favorite characters and send different ones to friends and family to see the home entertainment release of Daniel Craig’s final film as 007.  The Bond-themed gift cards are available here.

Vudu will be offering digital gift cards featuring the following characters from No Time to Die:

  • Daniel Craig (James Bond)
  • Léa Seydoux (Madeleine)
  • Rami Malek (Lyutsifer Safin)
  • Lashana Lynch (Nomi)
  • Ben Whishaw (Q)
  • Naomie Harris (Moneypenny)
  • Ralph Fiennes (M)
  • Ana de Armas (Paloma)


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