Even though it’s only just August, the summer season is winding down, and we’re able to take stock of what worked and what didn’t. Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus was one of the big event films of the summer (at least for geeks), but only made $125 Million domestically. Screenwriter David Lindeloff talked to Wall Street Journal about the film and it’s reception and its “viral” marketing.
And in the article, he talks about some interesting things in terms of those tangential videos that were made to help sell the film. Namely that no one got paid for making them (or at least he didn’t get paid for writing them). And as Lindelof has an active twitter account, he talked about seeing the reactions come in, which he decided to take a break from after the film came out, and his struggles with some of the nitpicking and with his decision to only respond to people who didn’t like the film.
The bigger picture this raises – and something that comes out when Lindelof talks about the success of Ted – is how does viral marketing, at least the type they’re doing, help or hurt? 20th Century Fox threw a lot of weight behind this picture in terms of getting it out there, but audiences either came right away or didn’t bother. Part of that may have been the quality of the movie, part of it may have been the franchise itself, it’s hard to say. But if people aren’t familiar with the universe, are ads like that bewildering to a public, or do they just sate people who are already interested in the movie? We enjoyed these ads as they happened, but the movie is a fascinating but flawed experience. And by not delivering on a very basic level, it failed the sniff test. Where Ted outgrossed it by delivering on its very basic ideas. Swearing teddy bear, you get what you came for.
That said, we enjoyed the Prometheus marketing because much of it got us excited for the film without seeing things from the movie. It was a bold strategy, and prefer it to the heavy clip saturation of something like The Avengers. There’s a good idea there, and we hope that it’s explored in the future.
The other question, something Lindelof has suffered with since being on twitter and being behind the end of Lost, is whether or not it’s a good thing for artists and their public to interact so often. As we’ve seen with Kevin Smith and with Lindelof, it strikes me as a bad thing.
Does “Viral” Marketing work for you?