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.”

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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.”

Sony Pictures’ ‘Khali the Killer’ YouTube Release a Mistake or Shrewd Marketing?

NEWS ANALYSIS — Heading into the July 4 holiday, Sony Pictures released on YouTube what it said was a trailer to Khali the Killer, a crime drama about a retiring East Los Angeles hit man who develops empathy for one of his targets.

Instead of the trailer for the reported future theatrical release, viewers got to briefly see the entire 90-minute movie. And Sony received a windfall of media coverage about how it screwed up.

But did the studio really mess up, or did someone in marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment use social media to its full viral advantage?

In a box office era dominated by superhero sequels and undermined by over-the-top video, developing an audience for a low-budget non-comedy about an ex-gang member (Richard Cabral) taking one last job to support his ailing grandmother is a challenge.

Yet, the Internet was abuzz about the alleged marketing misstep on the very day (July 3) SPHE released Khali the Killer on DVD for $14.95.

Khali may be “the hero you hate to love,” but you have to know a hero even exists before you can love them. And Sony successfully got people talking about it.

Not unlike what Artisan Entertainment (now merged with Lionsgate) accomplished 20 years ago with its low-budget ($60,000) indie horror movie, The Blair Witch Project.

Utilizing the nascent Internet and untapped social media channels at the time, Artisan cleverly “released” on YouTube video of what it claimed was selfie footage found from three student filmmakers who disappeared in 1994 searching for a mythical creature known as the Blair Witch in the town of Burkittsville, Md.

The studio/distributor also created a website (which still exists) chronicling the missing students’ last known contacts with town locals and interactions with family and friends. The website reportedly generated more than 21 million unique visitors/hits prior to the film’s release.

The studio had successfully tapped into the social conscience of the 18- to 34-year-old target audience. The Blair Witch Project would go on to generate almost $250 million at the global box office — and millions more on home video.