The entertainment industry was among the first sectors to harness social media for commercial purposes. It continues to tweak its use of social media in promotional campaigns by trying out new platforms such as games or business models, such as online ticket sales from FarmVille.
In the case of the latter, Paramount DreamWorks Animation’s MegaMind has partnered with the social game developer Zynga to promote the movie on Farmville - the game’s first film partner. For 24 hours this weekend Farmville users interacted with a virtual Mega-Farm that was hosted by the film's title character, and were able to purchase a ticket to see the film directly from the FarmVille world. (via Ad Age).
Like other short-term campaigns before it, such as with Farmers Insurance or Cascadian Farms, this one attracted a significant number of users without alienating them by over marketing. Other studios are stepping up their use of apps and games, and in a recent twist, began charging a small fee for the promotion.
That is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s approach for its upcoming movie The Green Hornet, which will promote it with a game that users can upload for a fee, according to the Financial Times. Sony is launching the campaign with digital marketing agency Trigger. According to the FT, Sony and Trigger plan to split the profits generated by players paying to upgrade the game.
Other recent examples include Walt Disney’s social media campaign for TRON: Legacy at select IMAX locations in the U.S. and Canada, according to Mashable. These have included staged, in-character press meetings and geo-location badges. Disney is also using the IMAX sneak peek as the basis of a Facebook app. Called TRONiVerse, the application pulls in anything about the movie - posts, videos and photos from social networks like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr - and displays the content on an interactive grid.
The Farmville app borrows from an earlier campaign by Disney, which sold tickets to its Toy Story 3 movie on its Facebook page, through an offering with Fandango. Not only did it let people purchase tickets but it incorporated social marketing elements to it
Also this year, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s film Shrek Forever was the inaugural advertiser on Yahoo’s interactive mobile display ads.
This Spring’s movie Repo Men used barcode technology in its promotion. The campaign included a movie poster with a traditional barcode that led to additional content and promotion information. Fans scanned these codes to link to pages of sales brochures for the organs - which was the movie’s story line.