Marketing Strategy: How to Market Your Next TV Show or Film?

Marketing Strategy copyBy Rebecca Bennett

You are tasked with developing the marketing strategy for a show (or film). You have your go-to staple marketing avenues, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, YouTube, outdoor billboards, press release, (and theatrical trailers for film), buzz you want to really make this into a tent pole show (or blockbuster movie). Listed below are 7 fresh ideas in the footprints of the trends to turn your approach into a winning marketing strategy. The mixing and matching is on you.

Native Ad Performances By Cast

NBC’s SNL plans to replace 30% of its traditional ad load next season with ad performances in a native manner by the cast.  That’s right, the cast will be acting out the ad. This tactic creates a more appealing and seamless viewer experience that viewers don’t mind. This is a genius strategy that TV networks may very well duplicate across their channels in the near future. I would not be surprised, that as part of the talent deals, cast members will be required to perform some of the ad load, while of course, boosting their earning potential.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

On February 24, 2016, Google launched what are called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This open-source code speeds up page-load times on mobile websites up to 85%. It also supports ‘paywall’ sites, so for content subscription services, such as Netflix, where it’s their business model to charge for content, this could be the answer, pushing Facebook Instant Articles or Apple News to the side for now. (See related article on Facebook Instant Articles). It is suspected that Google favors AMP-encoded articles by ranking them higher in search results. That is yet to be determined, but it is still a valid option to consider for your mobile website advertising. Regardless, a faster loading time gives a more positive viewer experience, priming your marketing efforts for success.

Creating the ‘Remarkable’ Publicity Stunt

When I refer to “remarkable’ I am referring to Seth Godin’s, marketing guru’s, definition, “remarkable things are worth getting remarked upon.” Performing a publicity stunt will get your show or film noticed, but in order to be useful, your stunt must be worth remarking about. This will create the coveted word-of-mouth buzz for your viral marketing strategy.

For example, “Game of Thrones” generated buzz by planting an enormous, half sunk dragon’s head on a local beach in Britain as if it had washed up on the shore, before the new season.

Another example was when “Chronical” flew remote controlled human drones around the city of New York generating a ton of free publicity.

Pre-Screen Engagement Experiences

Create a pre-screen engagement opportunity for your audience through vehicles such as games, apps that create an avatar-version of you and the character blended together, or investigative missions.

The “Hunger Games,” for example, created a virtual experience for fans, before the release of the film, by inviting fans to the online game where they could join a district and compete against other districts, putting them in the storyline of the film. The game allowed users to interact with other users, invite their friends, and share posts. This pre-screen experience was the ground-breaking vehicle that generated the plethora of buzz for the movie.

Think Beyond Traditional Invitees to Your ‘Press Junkets’

‘Press Junkets’ are a popular and powerful publicity tactic. They are an opportunity to invite key journalists, critics, and reporters on site to conduct interviews with the main talent and creators. However, be open to inviting newer avenues of press, such as influential bloggers and fans. Allowing opportunities for them to pose for photos with the cast will no doubt get posted on social media for bragging rights.

More YouTube Advertising

Google recently reported that YouTube ads are 80% more effective than TV ads based on several case studies it did in conjunction with its research partners. Being wary that this is a self-serving study, Google suggested that advertisers should spend six times more of their budgets on YouTube advertising. The CMO Council, earlier this year, released their annual survey that corroborated these findings predicting that digital advertising will overtake television ads by 2018. Sounds like more budget dollars on digital ad inventory might have a better pay off.

CTA Pre-Roll Video Advertising

Pre-roll video ads are effective and relatively inexpensive for showing your trailer. They are cost effective in that you aren’t charged if the viewer ‘skips’ the ad within the first five seconds. Consider sites such as IMDB, 4oD, & Vimeo. Having a call to action (CTA) in your trailer, to engage with other pre-release opportunities on any of your sites, such as a film-themed social game, or opportunity to win premiere tickets is a must.



Davies, Jessica. How European Publishers are Using Google AMP. Digiday.

February 25, 2016.

Godin, Seth. How To Be Remarkable. January 07, 2007.

Godin, Seth. How To Get Your Ideas to Spread. TED. 2003.

Henry, Jasmine. 5 Colossal Ways Content Marketing Will Change in 2016.

April 15, 2015.

Poggi, Jeanine‘Saturday Night Live’ Will Cut Ads by 30% Next Season. Ad Age. April 25, 2016.

Pulizzi, Joe.  This Week in Content Marketing: The Future of Television Advertising Is Native. Content Marketing Institute. April 30, 2016.

Siegal, Jacob. Google says that YouTube ads are 80% more effective than TV ads. BCR. Apr 20, 2016.

Taylor, Marcus. 17 Tips For Marketing Films & TV Shows Online. 2013.

One thought on “Marketing Strategy: How to Market Your Next TV Show or Film?

  1. Pingback: Are You Effectively Using Social Media to Promote Your Company? | LAUNCH!

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