Power Marketing 2019: Home Entertainment’s Top Campaigns and the People Behind Them

Welcome to Media Play News’ first-ever Power Marketing special report. Here, we profile the campaigns behind some of the year’s top-selling disc and digital home releases — and the marketing executives and teams that made them happen.

Our focus is primarily on the big studios — and the big titles — but we kept an eye on independents and retailers as well. As you’ll see, there’s no shortage of ingenuity and innovation.

The Power Campaigns

Avengers: Infinity War — Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International

To capitalize on audience reaction to the epic and unexpected story arc of Avengers: Infinity War during the film’s theatrical run, Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International’s worldwide marketing team formed an aggressive pre-sell campaign. The campaign began at the theatrical window and reinforced that this film is the “beginning of the end of a 10-year journey” for the Marvel brand and is an essential must-have for both hardcore MCU collectors and general movie-loving audiences. The campaign capitalized on Marvel’s year-long 10th anniversary celebration, in which the brand was “always on” in theaters, and tied in with creative promotions driving the entire Marvel catalog.

Disney released a timed trailer with Marvel 10th anniversary events taking place at San Diego Comic-Con International a short time before the film’s July 31 digital release, resulting in a 109% lift in orders. The trailer generated 3.5 million organic impressions on Facebook within a 24-hour span. Additionally, Comic-Con attendees were given the opportunity to take part in a Twitter scavenger hunt that sent fans looking for “infinity stones” throughout the show floor. While only attendees participated in the actual hunt, it trended in Twitter’s top 10 nationally.

The Disney marketing team also launched innovative promotions with leading tech and gaming communities, including Marvel Studios’ first-ever Amazon Alexa Skill trivia game, which included a call to action to purchase the film on Amazon Prime Video.

On digital platforms, the team deployed several creative executions that generated excitement and increased sales. Thanos “took over” all Marvel and talent social media pages. A Facebook AR activation allowed users to apply Thanos’ “fade to ash” effects to their own pictures, and a video series was launched to bring casual consumers up to speed on the MCU backstory. The Russo brothers hosted a Vudu viewing party that generated hundreds of millions of impressions on Twitter and spiked digital sales by more than 33%.

The Disney marketing team also leveraged excitement about the film to create robust integrations with Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Freeform, as well as leading sports brands, including ESPN’s e-sports airing of the Overwatch league, regional MLB home games and a custom Dodger Stadium takeover.

The international team planned big, bold stunts, including the installation of a massive fist gauntlet that “broke ground” in a key London mainline station, a light show in London where the Avengers “A” was beamed into the city skyline, and huge Blu-ray Disc cover installations that were erected in malls throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Avengers: Infinity War wound up being the No. 1 physical and digital release of 2018, and the fastest-selling digital release ever.

Batman: The Animated Series — Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (TV)

Jeff Brown and his team crafted an innovative, interactive 13-month campaign to successfully publicize and market the long-awaited release of the fully-remastered Batman: The Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray boxed set. The campaign strategically balanced traditional mainstream approaches with topline genre outreach, global entertainment promotion and grassroots social interaction.

The campaign utilized the two largest fan gatherings in the United States — San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con — as tentpoles for announcements, exhibitions, media activations, and direct interaction with press and consumers. The promotional window opened with a surprise revelation of the remastering of the episodes at the “Batman: The Animated Series” 25th anniversary celebration panel before a capacity crowd of 3,000 at New York Comic Con in October 2017. WBHE continued a teaser approach for the following eight months until San Diego Comic-Con in 2018, with a full day of high-profile and genre-based media interviews capped by an at-capacity 2,000-seat panel, where most details were revealed. From there, WBHE enacted an aggressive three-month publicity blitz, leading up to a final New York Comic Con panel before 3,000 enthusiastic fans 17 days before the DVD and Blu-ray Disc’s street date.

Over the course of the 13-month campaign, WBHE employed numerous engaging publicity tactics to maintain fan interest, ramping up as street date approached. These efforts included:

  • A stealth initial soft launch that garnered more than 2,000 preorders before officially announcing the product, resulting in a greater immediacy for initial demand;
  • An announced lower-than-expected exclusive limited-edition number that drove even greater sales and forced an eventual expansion of that production run to more than double the original total;
  • Inclusion of a digital copy with each disc set, as a consumer value add;
  • Continuous social presence utilizing the acting stars of the series (Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Loren Lester, John Glover, Diane Pershing), as well as Bat-friendly celebrities (Kevin Smith, Troy Baker, Diedrich Bader, Jason O’Mara) to garner millions of impressions;
  • Maintaining an active and responsive social presence to keep fans engaged and interested, as well as addressing their concerns for the myriad technical issues that befell the release;
  • The creation of special split-screen videos to better exemplify the vast improvement between the original footage and the remastered episodes;
  • The creation of an unboxing video featuring the series’ star with largest online following (Tara Strong), posted on street date;
  • The production of a series of GIFs featuring cast and filmmakers with Tenor that garnered 250,000 added impressions;
  • And a Twitter-based two-week promotion — “BTAS on Tour” — that allowed fans to “follow” the travels of an actual boxed set, including visits to Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Central Park, Springsteen on Broadway, the World Series at Dodger Stadium, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Universal Studios, L.A. Comic Con, Randy’s Donuts, Voodoo Donuts, the “Friends” couch and more.

Bumblebee — Paramount Home Entertainment

For the global home entertainment release of the hit film Bumblebee, the Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) marketing team executed a multi-phase campaign to drive digital and physical sales and generate tons of buzz. The team additionally elevated the title with an innovative product offer: 14 deleted/extended scenes and an animated motion comic with a new Bumblebee adventure — also offered as a printed comic in the Blu-ray. The gift-ability of the title was heavily promoted on packaging and through a special trailer, helping to drive pre-Easter sales.

PHE targeted multiple audiences through comprehensive media buys during both the electronic sellthrough and physical windows. From major sporting events such as MLB’s opening day to Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards and promoted posts across social media, the carefully orchestrated advertising campaign reached parents, kids, “Transformers” fans and more to ensure awareness and drive purchases across all consumer targets.

Augmenting the paid media was a robust social media campaign that included multiple custom activations for the various fan segments. Among the highlights were a partnership with Volkswagen that blended contextual storytelling with custom social creative, concerted messaging for National Women’s Day highlighting the film’s heroine, and a wildly successful April Fool’s activation that included a vintage-looking 4:3 digital trailer for a special VHS release that generated online coverage reaching 53 million unique monthly visitors and garnered 12 million social impressions.

The campaign was rounded out by widespread publicity including news coverage of a towering Bumblebee at WonderCon and San Francisco’s Pier 39, a behind-the-scenes press day with the film’s screenwriter, foley artists and Bumblebee in VW form as well as talent interviews, Easter segments and more.

Ultimately, the combined marketing efforts drove both digital and physical sales that exceeded expectations and sent Bumblebee to the top of the sales charts.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

To market the global home release of the huge blockbuster hit Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the marketing team at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment developed a groundbreaking interactive campaign in partnership with Facebook and Messenger. The campaign focused on sharable in-store and in-home augmented-reality (AR) experiences showcasing the film’s celebrated dinosaurs. It was not only the largest effort of its kind for both partners, but also the first integrated AR experience across the Facebook family of apps — specifically Facebook and Messenger.

The day the film was released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc and DVD, participating retailers across 18 countries set up eye-catching Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom displays with instructions on how to activate the AR experience. Shoppers could scan a special QR code to launch the sharable AR effect that placed the ferocious Indoraptor directly in their path, providing them with an up-close encounter with one of the newest dinosaurs from the “Jurassic” franchise. In the United States alone, the experience spanned more than 17,000 stores across multiple national retail and grocery chains.

A second experience awaited buyers in the United States, Canada and 14 other countries. The in-home experience was activated through
a collectible insert that came with each purchased disc, using the Messenger camera. The experience unveiled an interactive baby version of the film’s Velociraptor hero, Blue. The animated Baby Blue could be placed in any environment, and images and video of her behaving curiously, playfully and aggressively could be captured and shared with friends.

“Just as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom transports viewers into an immersive world of discovery and wonder, the new AR offerings extended that excitement and innovation to retail stores and consumer homes,” said Hilary Hoffman, UPHE EVP of global marketing. “We were thrilled to have a world-class partner in Facebook to help power these engaging AR experiences.”

The AR activation was one of several successful elements of the overall integrated marketing campaign, which also included broadcast and digital marketing as well as a global press event. The AR activation was used to directly target consumers, offering them an additional incentive to purchase the film.

Ready Player One — Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Film)

To market the global home entertainment release of Ready Player One, Jessica Schell, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment EVP and GM of film, and her team developed and implemented a successful comprehensive marketing strategy targeting fans of both the film and the book — along with general film enthusiasts. The campaign culminated with an immersive experiential activation at San Diego Comic-Con, leading to strong physical and digital sales, making it one of the top-performing home entertainment titles of the year.

Drafting off of Warner Bros.’ successful theatrical marketing campaign for the film, the WBHE marketing team worked closely with Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, to align campaigns and leverage best practices from the film’s theatrical opening. Marketing data insights from the theatrical team helped WBHE hone in on key Ready Player One fans, while tapping into relevant expansion audiences, focusing on sci-fi/adventure aficionados, Steven Spielberg fans, and consumers who buy a lot of home entertainment product.

During the theatrical marketing campaign, WBHE used “homage” poster art featuring Ready Player One lead character Parzival incorporated into one-sheets of classic Warner Bros. films such as Bullitt and The Lost Boys, providing the imagery to key digital retailers iTunes and Vudu.

WBHE also created a new interactive activation at Comic-Con. Featuring iconic sets and moments from the film, the activation also incorporated a pivotal scene from The Shining. The installation contained two Ready Player One-themed escape rooms, which tested fans’ knowledge of 1980s culture; re-creations of several sets from the film; a full arcade; props and costumes from the film; and photo opportunities accompanied by custom hashtags. The “surprise” element exclusive to WBHE was a faithful re-creation of the Overlook Hotel hallway, elevators, the doors to room 237, and the iconic bathroom from The Shining, along with atmospheric sound and visual effects.

WBHE hosted a media and influencer preview prior to the activation opening that included a private guided tour and stand-up and photo opportunities. In keeping with the retro 1980s themes included in the film, a VHS copy of the film was designed and created and was given to press along with a copy of the film’s soundtrack on vinyl, which was released by WB’s Water Tower Music. The highly coveted VHS giveaway was signed by Ernest Cline, author of the Ready Player One novel.
The activation was a social media success, reaching more than 3.2 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The activation also secured the No. 1 spots across the Ready Player One social accounts, including the highest-performing posts on Instagram for the activation announcement as well as a post giving a look inside the exhibit. The Facebook page also saw the highest-performing post with a photo album featuring images from SDCC weekend, and the No. 1 Tweet featuring the “Riverdale” cast at the activation.

Venom — Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Following a top-grossing run at the box office and overwhelmingly positive audience reviews, Lexine Wong, Senior EVP of worldwide marketing, and the SPHE marketing team took advantage of the holiday gift-giving time period with a December release. They set goals to create an innovative marketing campaign for the home entertainment release of Venom that would break through the holiday clutter, be buzzworthy, have the potential to go viral, and proclaim collectibility. The campaign took a multi-pronged approach to target consumers, press and media with various standout activations.

Leveraging social analytics and fan conversations, the team took a risk and leaned into the comedy and fandom of the Eddie Brock and Venom relationship. The result was a new home entertainment announce trailer that was a tongue-in-cheek parody of traditional romantic comedies. Debuting the trailer exclusively with Entertainment Weekly and garnering widespread pickup across mainstream, fanboy and entertainment press, the trailer was further integrated across paid media and all digital touchpoints of the campaign. The response was outstanding, accumulating millions of views over the life of the campaign.

In addition, to celebrate the digital release, the team partnered with Super News Live to host a Venom Block Party with a special guest appearance by Venom co-creator Todd McFarlane, a live mural painting by local and well-known street artists, Venom-themed snacks and special cast appearances. The event generated extensive press coverage with both local and national press outlets.

Next, in a first-of-its-kind co-branded NFL broadcast partnership, Wong and her team worked with the NFL to create a series of hype videos integrating Venom with football highlights to get sports fans excited about the upcoming match-ups.

Amazon had an exclusive limited-edition Venom Blu-ray with glossy foldout packaging and art from illustrator Marko Maney.

Finally, to drive customers to Walmart, SPHE created special 1980s “throwback” Venom action figures packed in a Blu-ray gift set, complemented by a themed commercial that was amplified on paid and organic social, digital media and on the retailer’s channels.

Through pulling all marketing levers and taking a unique approach to a holiday campaign, the Venom home entertainment campaign made Adweek’s “The 7 Biggest Movie Marketing Moments of 2018,” the only home entertainment campaign to be featured.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter! 

The Power Marketers

Jeff Brown
EVP and GM, Television, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Brown for more than two decades has been an instrumental member of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) team, helping guide the division to the forefront of home entertainment innovation. Brown’s team manages all digital and physical WB Television (WBTV) content for both new-release and catalog on a global basis. WBHE content includes live-action TV series, non-theatrical family and animation programming. Additionally, Brown manages third-party partner relationships with content owners such as BBC as well as original content development exclusively for home distribution. In recent years, under Brown’s tenure, WBHE has achieved five years of television transactional share growth; over 50% expansion of its made-for-video slate, including the Home Media Award-winning top DTV of 2018, The Death of Superman; leadership in TV digital with innovation in pricing, promotion, new customer acquisition strategies and use of data-driven analytics; and leadership in “collection offerings,” including the Home Media Awards presented by Media Play News title of the year for 2018 —
Batman: The Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray boxed set.

Regarded as a digital pioneer in the home entertainment realm, Brown has paced WB’s television digital efforts for high-profile series such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends,” as well as for evergreen animation brands such as “Scooby-Doo.” Brown further grew WB’s success with an unprecedented expansion into made-for-video content.
Early in his career, Brown was an instrumental member of the Warner Bros. team that led the DVD/Blu-ray Disc revolution. He was later based in London as Warner Bros. head of EMEA, where he helped engineer the company’s adaptation of a global franchise marketing planning process. He then moved back to the United States and assumed responsibility of WBHE’s television business unit.

Before joining WBHE in 1996, Brown worked in marketing management for General Mills and Nestle, as well as operating as general manager/owner of two successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Hilary J. Hoffman
EVP, Global Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Hoffman has consistently shown a knack for leveraging creativity, data and intuition to craft marketing plans for the home release of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and franchises, from Jurassic World to Despicable Me and the “Fast and Furious” line. With an eye on maximizing revenue, she defines go-to-market consumer strategies and the overall approach for consumer engagement, both through traditional media and through new platforms and technologies. Hoffman and her team focus on the complete packaged-goods and digital product lifecycle. Her marketing ability and leadership strengths were recognized in 2014 when she was asked to transform the marketing department into an innovative global organization.

Hoffman currently oversees strategic marketing and business strategy for Universal Pictures and its distributed lines worldwide across new-release, catalog and TV properties for both physical and digital. She is currently implementing new data-driven decision-making tools to optimize media spend and measure effectiveness of marketing elements.

David Kite
SVP, Global Marketing, Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Kite oversees global marketing for the in-home release of studio and TV content distributed by The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television. He is responsible for the global in-home release calendar of new-release and catalog titles across physical and digital retailers, overall creative product strategy, linear and digital marketing and customer relationship management that drive sales, ownership and consumption of the company’s content. This includes the creation and implementation of all creative marketing and bonus materials.
With nearly 20 years of experience at The Walt Disney Company, Kite has held leading roles in digital marketing, product management and distribution strategy. Most notably, Kite’s team has spearheaded campaigns for six of the top 10 bestselling in-home titles of the past 36 months: including the top selling physical releases of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, which currently holds the record as the bestselling 52-week digital title of all time. Kite and his team are currently working on campaigns for Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Alita: Battle Angel and Dark Phoenix.

Amanda Kozlowski
EVP, Home Entertainment and Digital Distribution Marketing, Lionsgate
Kozlowski oversees marketing efforts across traditional and emerging platforms and technologies for Lionsgate’s entire home entertainment and digital distribution division. The division includes the distribution of Lionsgate’s feature film slate, titles from one of the largest television businesses in the world, Starz original programming, a 17,000-title film and television library, and titles from leading content partners such as Roadside Attractions, A24, CBS Films, Grindstone, Pantelion and Saban Films. Kozlowski recently transformed the global marketing team to focus on complete lifecycle marketing and distribution strategies, planning for content from its initial release through the streaming and TV windows. In addition, Kozlowski plays a lead role in the studio’s enterprise-wide marketing technology, ad technology, market research, marketing analytics, CRM and customer acquisition initiatives.

Kozlowski previously served as SVP of digital marketing, leading Lionsgate’s digital marketing strategy. She has also overseen the execution of Lionsgate’s domestic EST/VOD sales efforts and distribution deals with Roadside Attractions, Miramax Films and StudioCanal. Prior to joining Lionsgate, she oversaw campaigns for marketing agency A.D.D. Marketing + Advertising as well for the nonprofit organization Film Independent.

Her biggest challenge, she said, is “creating clever campaigns that generate attention while remaining authentic to each IP and its audience. With a wealth of content available to consumers and so many marketing messages targeting them, cutting through the clutter authentically is more important than ever.” Her biggest opportunity, she said, is the fact that more content is being consumed than ever — and there are more channels for audiences to choose from, as well. “As someone who grew up in a smaller Southern city with a love for indie film, I had to really work to access content that interested me,” Kozlowski said. “The immediacy that consumers have to connect to all kinds of stories today is incredibly exciting.”

Kozlowski said that the arrival of motion picture group chairman Joe Drake and president of worldwide marketing Damon Wolf to Lionsgate the past year “has reinvigorated our data marketing initiatives. With their support, we launched the Lionsgate Data Center this year to help us better locate and understand our consumers. As someone who’s been working on marketing technology and consumer data for over four years, it’s incredibly exciting to see data-driven decision making taken the next level.”

Vincent Marçais
EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Marçais has served as EVP of worldwide marketing for Paramount Home Entertainment for just over a year, overseeing brand, creative, media, customer marketing, international marketing and consumer research for all of the studio’s home entertainment releases on physical and digital. He reports to Bob Buchi, president of Paramount Home Entertainment.

Marçais previously served as EVP of worldwide brand and customer marketing for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. In this role he oversaw the release campaigns for all transactional businesses (Video-on-Demand, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and Digital HD) and also managed joint consumer marketing efforts with digital retailers and U.S. and international operators. During his tenure Marçais was a key driver of the division’s transformation from a pure physical distribution company into a digital new media company. His marketing savvy helped spur sales to consumers of such films as The Martian, Joy, Brooklyn, and the “X-Men,” “Ice Age” and “Planet of the Apes” franchises.

Marçais began his career with French car manufacturer Citroën and joined Fox Video France in 1991, where he held numerous marketing and sales positions. From 2002 to 2006 he served as Fox’s VP of marketing for the European home entertainment operation. Marçais relocated to Los Angeles in 2006 to serve as SVP of international marketing for Fox and became EVP of worldwide brand and consumer marketing in 2012.

Jessica Schell
EVP and GM, Film, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Schell joined Warner Bros. in 2014 and has global responsibility for all operations related to the physical and digital sales, marketing, creative, distribution, finance and administrative functions of the studio’s film home entertainment releases, including new theatrical titles and catalog. Schell has been successful in combining traditional marketing strategies with her extensive background in digital marketing and new media to create cutting-edge campaigns for such titles as Wonder Woman, Aquaman, It, Ready Player One, Crazy Rich Asians, American Sniper and the “Lego” franchise, driving both digital and physical sales. Schell also identifies and engages new technology marketing opportunities and platforms for the studio’s home entertainment offerings, including virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.

Schell oversees the continued growth of WBHE’s Blu-ray Disc business, and also manages the growing market for 4K UHD Blu-ray titles, including the top-performing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, The Matrix Trilogy and The Dark Knight Trilogy. She has been instrumental in the continued growth of the digital transaction business, including electronic sellthrough and VOD. During her tenure, Warner Bros. has been the No. 1 home entertainment theatrical studio with a 17% share, the No. 1 home entertainment theatrical catalog studio with a 20% share, and the No. 1 home entertainment physical 4K studio with a 22% share, with consumers spending more than $100 million in combined sellthrough and rental sales of WB 4K theatrical product.

Additionally, under Schell’s leadership WBHE received three Home Media Awards presented by Media Play News for 2018 home entertainment offerings, including Best Blu-ray Disc and Best Restoration for the 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and Best Horror Disc for It.

Prior to joining Warner, Schell spent nine years at NBC Universal, most recently serving as EVP of worldwide new media and digital entertainment for Universal Pictures.

Lexine Wong
Senior EVP,
Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Wong leads Sony Pictures Television’s Global Home Entertainment marketing team. She is charged with delivering breakthrough marketing campaigns across a wide range of product from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s studio labels, spurring consumer engagement and driving transactions across both digital and physical windows. Her specific areas of oversight include consumer and brand strategy, creative advertising, media and digital, PR and strategic partnerships, content development for digital/physical product, and new product development.

Wong began her career at Young & Rubicam, the ad agency, and after joining what is now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment rose to EVP of Worldwide Marketing in 2001 and her present position five years later, just as the industry was launching Blu-ray Disc.

Wong’s focus is on providing value and measurable impact for consumers through entertaining, shareable and highly interactive experiences across all channels. Wong’s insights-driven marketing strategy provides a strong foundation for product development and continued marketing innovation around new platforms critical for growth in the industry, such as Movies Anywhere, virtual reality, augmented reality, 4K UHD and other direct-to-consumer digital offerings.

Under her direction, Wong’s team in 2018 was responsible for buzzworthy publicity and media campaigns for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

The Power Teams

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Jennifer Anderson, SVP, Marketing, is responsible for leading the strategic development and execution of brand marketing and creative for all SPHE new release and catalog business. She oversees a cross functional team including brand and product marketing, promotions and creative advertising.

Jane Mohon, SVP, Marketing Services, is responsible for data-driven consumer strategy overseeing digital and social media marketing, traditional and digital media planning and buying as well as publicity. She finds synergies across paid, owned and earned media by connecting the dots among consumer activation opportunities.

Joe Burg, Executive Director, Content Development, leads a team of content producers in the ideation and production of home entertainment original content and is a lead producer on new technology initiatives.

Gregg Shack, VP, Creative Advertising, guides the team’s creative strategy, developing key art, print and audio visual assets for ad campaigns.

Jana Simmons, VP, TV & Customer Marketing, partners with the commercial teams and customers to develop marketing programs for all SPHE’s transactional retail partners.

Lionsgate

Amelia Rogers, SVP, Integrated Marketing, oversees the integrated marketing team covering both owned and third-party content.

Erin Carter, SVP, Integrated Marketing, focuses on retail marketing and distribution efforts.

Whitney Dickinson, VP, Media and Data, runs media planning and the division’s efforts for the Lionsgate Data Center.

Tom Gundred, SVP, Creative Development, oversees print, AV and digital creative direction across film and television content.

Paramount Home Entertainment

Dina Marovich, SVP, Worldwide Media & Interactive Marketing, oversees all media planning and buying for the division.

Rozita Tolouey, SVP, Brand Marketing, drives the division’s global marketing strategies for new releases and acquisitions.

Michele Bell, SVP, Worldwide Creative Services, is responsible for all of the division’s creative advertising materials.

Brenda Ciccone, SVP, Worldwide Publicity & Communications, oversees all publicity and corporate communications for the division on a global basis.

Melinda Froelich, SVP, International Marketing, is responsible for international marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and release strategy.

Hilarie Hildebrandt, SVP, Customer Marketing, focuses on executing consumer-focused programs with each retail client.

Alanna Powers, VP, Brand Marketing, oversees strategies for catalog titles.

Leda Chang, VP, Digital Marketing, drives interactive initiatives.

Jacqueline Gustafson, VP, Home Media Content, supervises bonus material strategies.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Pam Blum, SVP, UPHE Marketing, oversees creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for UPHE’s releases on a worldwide basis.

Lea Porteneuve, SVP, Global Publicity & Communications, oversees global business, technology and executive communications for UPHE, spearheading all strategic publicity initiatives in support of the studio’s digital and physical home entertainment offerings.

Jeff Ackermann, SVP, Global Brand Marketing — Live Action New-Release & Catalog, spearheads global strategic marketing, product development and management of new-release titles from Universal Pictures and Focus Features, and the studio’s extensive catalog library.

Stephanie Lutjens, VP, Global Brand Marketing — Family, TV & Promotions, leads global strategic marketing, product development and management of family new release and TV, in addition to managing worldwide home entertainment promotions.

Joe Eibert, VP, Digital Marketing, leads digital marketing strategic planning and execution for UPHE releases.

Nadia Haney, VP, Global Marketing, Emerging Technology, is responsible for consumer-focused global strategic marketing for
emerging formats.

Denise Haro, SVP, Global Consumer Insights & Strategy, oversees business insights, marketing data analytics, and UPHE’s consumer insights and research with a focus on aligning global commercial strategy around product, window, messaging and innovation.

Ted Chi, VP, Digital Marketing Strategy, is responsible for establishing and leading the strategy and execution of marketing for the Digital Distribution group.

Sandy Choi, SVP, Brand Marketing, North America Partnerships, manages the North American third party partners which includes developing marketing campaigns for partner releases across both physical and digital platforms and leading the cross-functional team that oversees the overall management of partner relationships.

Kelly Harrington, VP, Global Brand Marketing, Catalog, 1440 Productions & Licensing, leads global strategic marketing and management of UPHE catalog releases, 1440 Production new releases, and commercial marketing for licensing.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Kristina Fugate, SVP, Marketing, Film, handles all theatrical new-release and catalog brand marketing efforts across disc and digital platforms, which also includes creative advertising, franchise lifecycle management and global strategy.

Chris Baldwin, SVP, Worldwide Promotions & Partnerships, oversees all global promotions and partnerships for WBHE, including new-release, catalog, TV, family and animation titles.

Jack Walker, SVP, Media & Digital Marketing, oversees all media and digital marketing for WBHE, including new-release, catalog, TV, family and animation, and games. Walker reports to Jessica Schell and Jeff Brown.

Emily Zalenski, SVP, Worldwide Publicity, Film, oversees worldwide publicity, events and experiential marketing efforts for new-release and catalog titles. She also manages corporate communications for WBHE.

Nicole Coleman, SVP, Trade Marketing and Sales Integration, oversees the theatrical catalog P&L for the home entertainment group across the physical and digital retail landscape, and also leads trade marketing and sales planning for both physical and digital film and television content.

Laura Lupinetti, VP, Film Trade Marketing, is responsible for driving go-to-market strategy for WBHE’s new-release and catalog businesses, curating content and price variability to maximize sales and placement across various retail windows.

Rosemary Markson, SVP, TV Marketing, leads global marketing for Warner Bros. TV series across all transactional platforms, with responsibility for strategy development, product management, consumer marketing and business planning for current on-air series and library/catalog content.

Mary Ellen Thomas, VP, Television Marketing, Family & Animation, oversees product development and marketing for animated and live-action made for videos, episodic animation, and partner brands (Peanuts, Dr. Seuss, Viz Media, and WWE).

Melissa Hufjay, VP, Publicity, Television, oversees worldwide publicity, events and Comic-Con presence for all television, family, animation and live-action/animated made-for-video titles.

Zandra Palmer, VP, Trade Marketing, provides strategic direction to field sales and brand marketing teams in the development of effective retail programs across all distribution platforms in North America, both physical and digital, to achieve or exceed financial objectives.

Beyond the Majors

In addition to major studio promotions, Media Play News selected some notable campaigns from the independent studio and consumer retail realm:

The Final Wish — Cinedigm

The Final Wish has become one of Cinedigm’s highest-grossing VOD, digital and physical releases of 2019 due to a well-structured campaign consisting of grassroots, social media, publicity and traditional media. The horror film, released on digital, VOD and theatrically Feb. 8 (on disc March 19), premiered at Screamfest, the largest horror festival in the United States, and maintained its momentum through word-of-mouth screenings with horror site Dread Central. Social media consisted of a seven-month campaign in which engagement was high, boosted by an extremely targeted paid campaign and organically by a supportive cast and crew. A 30-second spot was created for TV and YouTube highlighting the film’s pedigree and cast.

About the Marketer: Kim Staruk, executive director of marketing, Cinedigm

Staruk joined the company in March 2014. She oversees the general partner relationship, overall business strategy and marketing plans for key content partners such as Hallmark, Status Media and the NHL. Staruk previously spent four years as a brand manager at Universal Music and two years at Sony.

“Awards Watch” — FandangoNow

Capitalizing on Fandango’s position as the destination for all things movies, FandangoNow’s annual Awards Watch Campaign was a Fandango-FandangoNow, cross-company collaboration. As part of a promotion with “The Today Show” and to help drive tune-in to the Golden Globes, FandangoNow offered a code for 50% off all Globe-nominated movies, from the day the nominees were announced on “Today” through the following weekend. During Awards season, culminating with the Academy Awards, nominated movies contributed up to 50% of FandangoNow’s business. Both past winners and new-release nominees were supported across the platform with all marketing touchpoints, including homepage takeovers and dynamic awards checklists, across connected devices and TVs, and on social media.

About the Marketer: Nantalie Song, senior director of marketing, FandangoNow

Song is the brand and consumer marketing lead for Fandango’s transactional video-on-demand service. She oversees marketing strategy and ad campaigns across owned-and-operated platforms, including social, smart TVs and OTT devices. She weaves research into stories to drive customer acquisition and retention, as well as collaboration among internal and external partners.

About the Marketer: Chad Ludwig, head of brand marketing, Fandango

Ludwig leads brand strategy and growth efforts for Fandango (ticketing), FandangoNow and Rotten Tomatoes. Previously, he has served in similar leadership roles, including COO of Oxford Road (a direct-to-consumer advertising agency), head of marketing for JibJab (expanding their subscription eCard business and launching the kids entertainment brand, StoryBots), and GM for Disney Movies Online (Disney’s initial foray into streaming movies and premium content). He’s successfully led a variety of efforts across business models (direct-to-consumer subscription, micro-transaction and/or e-commerce) and platforms (mobile, web, social and app-based).

“Back to the Movies” — Redbox

Redbox executive Ash Eldifrawi leveraged his experience as both a licensed clinical psychologist and a marketing executive to forge the “Back to the Movies” campaign. The continuing campaign, which began in August 2018, is aimed at combating digital isolation and creating meaningful consumer dialogue around the power of Movie Nights in bringing people together. The campaign encouraging co-watching has become part of “the overall positioning and core mission of our company,” he says.

A Redbox August 2018 Omnibus Survey found 61% of Americans missed the days when movie nights were a planned activity with friends and family; 58% of Americans said binge-watching TV shows — an activity most often done alone on the small screen — has replaced their movie-watching experience; 68% of Americans said having a regular movie night would bring them closer to friends/family; and 81% of Americans said watching a movie is therapeutic/makes them feel better. As a psychologist, Eldifrawi backed up the campaign with further research that showed binge-watching stimulates the pleasure center of the brain that drives addiction while watching a feature together with others stimulates a different part of the brain that has to do with deeper meaning.

The campaign is promoted on social media with videos on millennial-targeted ATTN:, with a spot that explains the psychological dangers of too much isolated binging, and on mom-targeted Scary Mommy, with a spot that features a mother who neglects her family to watch her phone.

The Redbox site further promotes the continuing campaign with a page asking viewers to take a pledge to “escape your digital bubble” and “enjoy more movie nights” with the hashtag #BacktotheMovies. Pledgees get a surprise offer. Next up, engaging studio partners in the cause and a wider media campaign.

About the Marketer: Ash Eldifrawi, chief marketing and customer experience officer, Redbox

Eldifrawi is responsible for all functions of product management and marketing, where he works to drive alignment and collaboration between different functions for new products, services and enhancements. Prior to joining Redbox, he served as chief commercial officer at Gogo, where he joined in 2010 after serving as CMO at Hayneedle. Earlier in his career, he served as director of brand advertising at Google, and spent time at Wrigley and in management consulting at McKinsey & Co. He recently co-authored the book The Ten Worlds: The New Psychology of Happiness, building on his doctoral work in clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Psychology, where his research focused on neurology and biopsychology.

(Additional reporting by Stephanie Prange.)

 

 

 

 

Regal Theaters Employ Augmented Reality in Prize Giveaway

The Regal theater chain, beginning April 15, has launched a weeklong, nationwide “Easter egg hunt” bringing movie posters to life via augmented reality.

Movie fans can use the Regal mobile app’s augmented reality filter to scan in-theater posters and unlock rewards, redeemable through April 30 at all participating Regal theaters.

“The race is on for our moviegoers with this one-of-a-kind promotion, which features incredible prizes hidden in posters of the year’s most anticipated movies,” said Chris Sylvia, VP of media at Regal, in a statement. “With the rise of augmented reality, we strive to stay on the forefront of cutting-edge technology to give our guests unbeatable entertainment experiences, as well as reward Regal’s loyal moviegoers.”

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!  

To discover the hidden rewards, consumers open the Regal mobile app and click on the camera icon in the top-right corner of the home screen to unveil an augmented reality platform that, when aimed at the correct poster, will reveal the hidden egg and its associated prize.

Prizes include free popcorn, bonus Regal Crown Club credits and 25 percent off an entire credit order in the Regal Reward Center. Supplies are limited.

Sling TV Launches Puppet ‘Slingy’ to Promote Service

OTT service Sling TV is introducing “Slingy,” a puppet star of its new digital ads.

The puppet is designed and created by Tim Clarke, one of the masterminds behind “The Muppets” puppet design, according to the service’s blog.

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!  

“Slingy is on a mission to let everyone know that Slinging is easy and anyone can do it — even a puppet!” reads the blog. “Slingy is passionate about educating live TV lovers who want to cut the cord and is even willing to show up at people’s homes and offices to tell them about Sling. After a visit from Slingy, consumers can’t help but get excited about the choice, flexibility and control that Sling TV offers without the baggage that comes with cable.”

Last year, Sling TV launched a tongue-in-cheek TV campaign featuring celebrity couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally as “slingers.”

Netflix Chief Marketing Officer to Exit

Chief marketing officer Kelly Bennett is leaving Netflix, the company announced.

He “has decided to step down from the company after seven successful years in the role” and will stay for a transitional period until a new chief marketing officer is named, according to a Netflix release.

Bennett joined Netflix in 2012 and has led the company’s marketing efforts as it grew from 26 million to more than 139 million paid members around the world, according to the release.

“He’s been instrumental in helping to make Netflix a much loved brand — and pioneered the company’s campaigning approach to the launch of its original content,” the release stated.

“Kelly Bennett has been absolutely transformational for us as we expanded our member base in the U.S. and globally, and particularly as we transitioned into being a leader in original series and films,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, in a statement. “He has been a source of inspiration both inside Netflix and in presenting our brand to the world, and we are thankful for his enormous contributions.”

“The past seven years have been the most rewarding of my professional life, and we are at the top of our game, which is why this was the right moment for me to retire,” said Bennett in a statement. “I am immensely proud of the team we have built and all that has been accomplished during my time here — and I will continue to be Netflix’s greatest fan.”

DEW Speakers: Authenticity, Accessibility Key to Marketing Content

Authenticity and accessibility were two of the top themes for speakers on the “View From the Top: The Future of Content Marketing” panel at the Digital Entertainment World conference in Marina del Rey, Calif., Feb. 5.

“We’re in a very admirable position in that our content, movies, movie trailers, people view it as a form of entertainment,” said Sandro Corsaro, SVP and chief creative officer, Fandango. “Not many people here would watch three or four car commercials for entertainment, but people love trailers.”

He noted how entertainment has a natural viral nature.

“Our influencers, if you will, if you look at Chris Pratt on Instagram yesterday or the day before, he posted about The Lego Movie 2, he posted about the Rotten Tomato score (Rotten Tomatoes is a sister company to Fandango) and that pushed to Fandango,” he said. “We don’t pay him to do that. We don’t tell him to do that. He has a vested interest obviously in the success of the content, so we’re fortunate in that sense.”

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!

Fandango also uses branded marketing.

“We had a program over the summer called Fanticipation with Microsoft Surface where we had a bunch of influencers get together and talk about movies using the Surface Pro to kind of diagram and design and talk about superhero movies,” he said.

Both instances involve authenticity and accessibility that make the campaigns more relevant for digital audiences.

“The expression of authenticity and the expression of accessibility through content marketing — those are the core tenets that we think of all the time when we talk about movies,” Corsaro said.

Kym Nelson, SVP of Twitch, noted that the gameplay live streaming service is one that tends to “resonate with Gen Z and the millennial audience, and [advertisers] recognize that that is their current and future consumer.”

Twitch has gathered those streamers into a force that brands can utilize.

“We’ve created a tool that automates the ability for all of our streamers to participate in a bounty if you will and we’re able to collect data on the backend and for any data we can match the information from the brand and the information from the streamers,” she said.

For instance, with Dollar Shave Club, Twitch utilized appropriate streamers to review and talk about the product. “We had them play with it and we knew it was a roll of the dice,” Nelson said.

Suffice it to say, there were unexpected streamed responses.

“They are laugh out loud funny,” offered Russell Arons, SVP and GM of Machinima.

Fandango, too, has been able to leverage comedy.

“Kevin Hart has been obviously on this meteoric rise,” noted Corsaro. “I think he’s what 135 pounds so we made him a belt that said, ‘Pound for Pound, Biggest Movie Star in the World.’ We gave him that belt in front of the Rock and we kind of watched it matriculate on the Internet.”

Authenticity, often proffered by comedy, is not the only thing marketing in the digital age requires; accessibility is also important.

“Experiential is the thing right now,” said Arons, referencing events such as Comic-con and the interaction with fans there.

“This desire to find their communities in person that they’ve been interacting with online is incredibly powerful,” she said.

Twitch’s Nelson added that “integrating [experiential] with a live stream platform so that that experiential experience can be broadcast to a wider audience so people in Mississippi, who may not be at Comic-con or South by Southwest, have that live experience [is also important].”

Tim Sovay, COO of CreatorIQ, noted the Feb. 1 event featuring DJ Marshmello and the Fortnite game platform.

“There was no brand involved in this, but it was just the power of the platform with the right artist and the right audience,” he said. “10 million confirmed viewers on a 10-minute concert took place live on the platform.”

Amy Poehler to Star in Comcast Xfinity Ad Campaign

Amy Poehler will star in a year-long Xfinity advertising campaign starting Feb. 4, Comcast announced.

The campaign featuring the actor, producer and director (“Parks and Recreation,” “Saturday Night Live,’ Inside Out and upcoming “Wine Country”) is called “Simple, Easy, Awesome – starring Amy Poehler” and uses her “unique sense of humor and wit to put a spotlight on the brand’s product benefits, across Xfinity Internet, Xfinity TV and Xfinity Mobile,” according to the Comcast release.

The two launch spots — “Potpourri” and “Make Yourself at Home” — will air across television, digital, mobile and radio.

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!

“Working with Amy has been a dream — her charm, charisma and relatability are a great fit for Xfinity and her improv skills really took our creative to another level,” said Eileen Diskin, SVP of marketing communications at Comcast, in a statement. “We’re proud to have her represent our brand and look forward to building upon our partnership with Amy throughout the year.”

“Simple, Easy, Awesome – starring Amy Poehler” brings to life the idea that you don’t have to be an expert to get the most out of technology, and the commercials put Poehler in real-life locations ranging from a family’s home to an Xfinity retail store, according to the release.

The campaign will include multiple TV spots to roll out in the coming months.

In addition to the creative content, the Comcast partnership with Poehler includes product integration into the company’s Xfinity X1 platform. Customers can say things such as “Amy is Awesome” and “Everything Amy Poehler” into the X1 voice remote and they will be taken to a special page with a curated collection of Poehler’s movies, shows, talk show appearances and more, and also will be able to unlock special voice messages from Poehler.

Xfinity has more than 30 million customer relationships across the country, according to the release, and the X1 platform includes Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video with the voice remote processing more than 700 million commands each month.

Warner Reorganizes PR and Marketing Teams

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group has undergone a reorganization of its public relations and marketing teams, cutting 15 jobs in New York and Los Angeles and promoting some executives, according to reports.

Variety broke the story about the cuts.

Warner is consolidating the marketing and public relations teams under Blair Rich, president of worldwide theatrical and home entertainment marketing, Variety reported, noting that the cuts were not related to the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

The studio is combining domestic and international publicity units under Michelle Slavich, head of global publicity and strategy.

“Back in January, we announced a restructure of our film and home entertainment businesses to enable us to remain competitive while facing an evolving business environment that grows more global every day,” Rich wrote in a memo to staff, Variety reported.

Dana Nussbaum will oversee theatrical media, Deadline reported, and will more closely align it with the home entertainment media unit. As part of the move, Jack Walker has been promoted to SVP, media and digital marketing, home entertainment, reporting to Nussbaum and Jessica Schell, EVP and GM, film at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, according to Deadline. Walker will work with Andrew Hotz, who oversees theatrical digital marketing and media, and Jeff Brown, who oversees home entertainment television, Deadline reported. Walker had previously reported to Schell and Brown.

Lynne Frank, president, international marketing and worldwide planning and operations for Warner Bros. Pictures, will be leaving the studio at the end of the year to pursue new professional opportunities, the studio announced Oct. 23.

Also leaving are EVP of international publicity Lance Volland and Ernie Johnston in promotions and field publicity, according to Deadline.

Universal Unleashes AR Experience With Facebook to Promote ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

To mark the global 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has partnered with Facebook and Messenger to unleash sharable in-store and in-home augmented reality experiences showcasing the film’s dinosaurs.

The AR experiences featuring different dinosaurs from the film will debut Sept. 18 timed to the film’s North American home entertainment launch before rolling out around the world.

It is the first integrated AR experience across the Facebook family of apps — specifically Facebook and Messenger — according to a Universal press release.

“Just as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom expertly transports viewers into an immersive world of discovery and wonder, the new AR offerings in-store and in-home serve to effectively extend that excitement and innovation to our global home entertainment release,” said Hilary Hoffman, EVP, marketing, UPHE. “We are thrilled to have a world-class partner in Facebook to help power these engaging AR experiences and are sure they will captivate and delight Jurassic fans of all ages.”

On the day of the release, participating retailers across 18 countries will showcase, for a limited time, the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in-store displays that will include instructions on how to trigger an AR experience. Shoppers scan a special QR code to launch the sharable AR effect that places the Indoraptor directly in their path. In the U.S. alone, the experience spans more than 17,000 stores across multiple national retail and grocery chains, according to the release.

The in-home experience is activated off of an insert in the product packaging using the Messenger camera. The experience unveils an interactive, baby version of the film’s Velociraptor hero, Blue. The animated Baby Blue can be placed in any environment, and images and video of her can be captured and shared with friends.

Both the in-store and in-home experiences are compatible with iOS and Android devices. Users should utilize the latest version of the Facebook and Messenger apps, according to the release.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the second installment in the dinosaur series reboot, has generated nearly $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office to date. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow, the film stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Atom Tickets Adds Muscle to Advisory Board

Atom Tickets, the online movie ticket service backed by Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox, among others, May 21 announced the addition of Dwayne Johnson and his production company to its advisory board.

Johnson, his business partner/ex-wife Dany Garcia and Seven Bucks production company will provide their “expertise” to the ticket startup. Other advisory board members include Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Tyler Perry.

Matthew Bakal, co-founder of Atom Tickets, said Johnson brings a “unique and impressive connection” to moviegoers, that apparently will translate into ticket purchases.

“We’re honored to have the opportunity to tap into his passion for the motion picture industry to ideate the possibilities,” Bakal said in a statement.

For Johnson, star of myriad action movies, including Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, New Line’s Rampage and upcoming Universal Pictures actioners, Skyscraper and Red Notice, partnering with Atom Tickets bring the moviegoing experience to consumers before they enter the theater.

“We are … revolutionizing the business of ticket buying as a whole,” Johnson said. “The Atom Team is an amazing group of individuals, who like us, are purely focused on the audience first.”

The free Atom Tickets app and website provide relevant movie reviews, trailers and synopses to help consumers make the best decision on what to see. App users can invite friends (via their contact lists) to purchase their own Atom tickets, among other features.

Hulu to Offer Ad-Supported Content Downloads

Hulu May 2 announced it is making available select content for download, enabling subscribers the ability to watch content when offline. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have featured offline viewing since 2016.

Hulu’s offline viewing will be ad-supported, which it said offers marketers an alternative opportunity to reach consumers. Netflix and Prime Video are ad-free.

“Our launch of the industry’s first ad-supported downloadable content experience is yet another example of how Hulu is innovating viewer-first ad solutions to drive powerful results for brands” Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising sales at Hulu, said in the presentation at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York. “With downloadable content, we’re offering brands more ways to connect with engaged viewers who love the experience of watching television, wherever they may be.”

Hulu also disclosed that Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) for OTT is now its go-to media measurement tool. Advertisers can use DAR to measure, guarantee and report campaign audience delivery across all desktop, mobile and connected devices, providing vital insight into viewership on the platform. With 78% of Hulu viewing taking place in the living room, Hulu claims DAR provides accurate, holistic measurement for everyone watching.

Hulu announced it has expanded its suite of “sales effectiveness” tools with four new partnerships. It will now offer attribution across the auto and retail categories, working with IHS Markit for Polk Campaign Measurement Solutions and Nielsen Buyer Insights, respectively.

In addition, Hulu announced an expanded offering for CPG brands with the help of IRI’s attribution solution. And in partnership with Experian, Hulu will offer advertisers the ability to enhance their CRM data with Hulu’s first-party data to deliver better insight into sales growth on the platform.