I tried to contact our own adverting and marketing students at UCA via the official Facebook page, unfortunately my post didn't get authorised. I wasn't sure on another way to contact people from the campus as we aren't based there. I also asked around people on my course to see if they knew any of the advertising and marketing students and no one did. As a result of this, I had to start looking further afield which is when I was inspired to talk to Emily. I studied A-level art with Emily at school. She is currently studying Fashion Communication and Promotion at Norwich University of the Arts. Unfortunately she also didn't know any marketing or advertising students who specifically studied in that field but she had her own ideas. As she studies fashion communication and promotion, she also has to market her work herself, and over her time at University she has learnt different methods of how to promote her own work. I felt that she was more an adequate to get advice from. She asked what I was trying to market. I explained about VET-MAN and the marketing research I had conducted already which wasn't quite creative enough. She continued with the following:
"You would want to research into your customer and who they are. So if you're targeting a specific audience you would market in a specific way. E.g if you wanted to target the millennial then you want to use ethical and emotive campaign strategies spread out across social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and go more creative like somehow creating art installations like projecting into a wall at night in a busy London street near a location your customer goes to. But if it were an older customer like Generation X or a Baby Boomer (40/65+ years old) then they have a completely different marketing approach. Like they like to consume in different ways so you would appeal through Facebook but aimed more at practicability and use of a product rather than its materials and ethical sourcing. Obviously this might not be helpful for your film."
I explained that that was helpful to know. I next asked what approach she would take first if she was given something to market.
"I would research your target audience and how to reach them and in what approach. Use marketing tools like AIDA and SWOT analysis. The 7 Ps of promotion etc. They help you break down the customer. Then once you've analysed your customer you can market to them in the appropriate way. The future is experience over buying though so create an experimental marketing technique for your film. A pop up room in the middle of a London Street with your film projected onto sensory walls or screen images printed on to coffee cups and fed to local bars. That would appeal to Millennials."
I said that due to our target audience being 16-30, I feel as if social media is the main and will be the most successful way to market the film.
"I would market in different ways that aren't predictable. Think outside the box of social media. Think in store event. Hiring a coffee shop and projecting into walls. A one off old school movie theatre. A trailer in your local independent cinema. Printing screen grabs or cinematography cuts onto coffee cups and movie posters painted onto walls. Stickers of your movie branded into a name or a sketch of your key character made into a sticker and stuck to a lamp post throughout your town. Use a key hashtag to link it all that will lead to a social media page."
After talking to Emily about marketing and promotion, I asked if she would like to create some illustrations for our film. As I know Emily, I follow her social media pages and she is regularly posting fashion illustrations that she is working on. She agreed to create illustrations for VET-MAN which I can use for marketing and promotional purposes. She seemed really keen and she was very helpful so I believe that she will create good content for me to distribute.
Now I have established that Emily is going to create illustrations for me, I felt that I needed more advice from someone who works in the marketing field. They may bring up different ideas which may lead onto more inspiration. As well as trying to post on the UCA Facebook page, I tried to contact marketing and advertising students from UCA but I was unsuccessful. I had to continue thinking of different ways in which to get advice on marketing. As I am currently working on my LinkedIn profile for job opportunities, I felt that this would be the next best way to contact people who are experienced in this field. I simply searched marketing and a couple of names came up - in particular Oscar. Oscar is a film researcher, who works within marketing and distribution. He also studied at the University of Kent which is local to me.
I started with the same information I discussed with Emily. I explained that I needed to market my film for University and asked if he had any advice for me.
"You need to figure out what the "story" of your film is - is there a really interesting behind-the-scenes narrative about how the story was developed? is it based on a true story? was there something really special about how it was made, or who made it? Your film is just another film among millions - why should I spend time watching your film?"
"For a production of this scale, social media is going to be pretty much the only worthwhile way to market. You should focus your efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit - the latter is a seriously overlooked marketing platform. I suggest collecting as much material as possible before you begin posting (poster, trailer, BTS photos, promotional stills etc.) writing up a document with a proper schedule of what you will be posting and when."
"On Facebook make sure you have an eye-catching profile picture and cover photo, invite all your friends and get the cast and crew to do the same. So you'll hopefully have a solid base of likes to start off. Only post once a day, in line with the algorithm - anything more than that and you're less likely to show up on people's feeds. On Twitter the best way to gain followers is to follow as many relevant people from your account as possible e.g. if your film is a horror film, follow journalists from horror websites, horror directors and actors from the last 40 years etc. Instagram is the same - identify 1-2 hashtags and use them frequently e.g. on your last movie it would have been #vetman and say, #studentfilm."
You previously mentioned Reddit. Could you explain a bit more about this platform as I've never heard of it before?
"Reddit works completely differently. It's essentially a host for millions of different "subreddits" - communities / message boards for any weirdly specific thing you can think of. Identify the subreddits most likely to respond to your movie (e.g. horror movies if it's a horror, filmmaking etc.) Start posting in a few of them so you're part of these "communities" before asking them to watch your film. If they know you're there to promote stuff they're not likely to respond well. Reddit is a platform where stuff can go viral, so it's well worth learning more about how it works. If you have any money in your budget for marketing, put it into advertising on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter's advertising isn't as favourable but it can be effective, it just doesn't let you target as specifically as Facebook."
"Facebook is far more cost-effective and you can target who you want to see certain posts. For example, you can pay for your trailer to reach female fans of football, lasagne and Odeon cinemas within a 25 mile radius of Nottingham, aged 28-43. The more specific you get the most likely you are to reach people who will watch your movie."
What do you recommend doing first in order to market a film well?
"Most importantly, as you'll be promoting on these platforms, figure out the "voice" of the movie. Is it a comedy, where posts should be kept light-hearted? Or a mystery so posts are written in a compelling way? Or a horror and the posts can be a warning? Figure out the USP (unique selling point) of your project and push that - is someone well-known involved? Is it a crazy genre like an LGBT sci-fi western romantic anthology? is it a concept no one's ever seen before? Find social media accounts for shorts and features that are similar to yours, and see how they've done it and crucially, if they have big followings online. Spend some time building up to the release of things like the poster and trailer - a 5-day countdown, with a striking image once a day for 5 days usually builds anticipation. This can apply to all platforms (maybe not on Reddit though)."
I continued by sending over my Advertising and Marketing blog post from to Oscar so he could see what I researched into and wrote about in the pre-production unit. By doing this, he could tell me where I went wrong and what is missing to create a successful marketing plan:
"Nothing immediately leaps out to me as having a USP so I guess you create a poster and trailer being very confident in the kind of tone it is trying to strike. I would very much advise Reddit for a start. Not enough people utilise it as a marketing tool. Perhaps create fictional accounts for your lead character or a veterinary practice? Maybe create a fictional advert for veterinary college or clinic that's quite gruesome, like what your lead character does? I think your next step should be to research the marketing campaign and online presence of films that are similar to yours... and really understand the tone of your film."
As Oscar was so passionate about me looking into Reddit, I decided to research further into it. I found that it is an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. I also created an account under VET-MAN, however, I realised that I think I would use this more of a revision tool to communicate with people surrounding marketing, rather than be able to market the film on there. This will still beneficial because I may be able to see how other pages market their products and gain some inspiration for myself. I found the idea that Oscar suggested of creating a marketing schedule interesting as it will help me establish whether I am marketing regularly or not, and whether I am giving enough for each stage in production. For example, I may have only shared a couple of posts during the pre-production stage, but have over-shared in production. By making a schedule I can keep a record of the balance in my marketing.
I took on some more of the advice from Oscar by looking at other short comedy films to see how they market their films. Initially, I took to the VET-MAN Instagram page and started searching for tags which are relevant to our film. I used the tags that I have been using on the social media at the moment such as #shortfilm, #studentfilm, #filmmaking, #shortcomedy etc. I found this would be the best way to find other pages that are creating the same sort of film that we are. Using the tags will then lead me to find names of other films as I wouldn't know any to search for before this process. Once I have names of similar films I can research further into their marketing techniques by searching for their Facebook and Twitter pages.
|Finding similar Instagram accounts|
I was searching #shortfilm and #studentfilm to find similar accounts, however I wasn't inspired by any to follow their marketing techniques. While I was looking I thought back to a student I went to Canterbury UCA with who also went to University to take on a film degree. Him and his friends were creating a dark comedy called A Christmas Cracker. This immediately caught my attention and I went straight onto their Instagram account to see their style and technique. I really liked the type of posts they were sharing, they were posting regularly and keeping their followers up to date. This is a bigger production than ours, and they have been in production for longer than ours which explains the amount of content and followers they have.
Looking at their posts gave me inspiration for a few marketing techniques, such as cast and crew introductions. Instead of heading straight for the photos including the crew, they have taken their time to introduce each crew member, as it can be seen in the screenshot below. The boxes outlined in red are each of their crew introductions. Unfortunately, I have already posted on the social media pages about our test shoots in the previous unit, however, I can adapt these so they introduce the crew in a similar way to A Christmas Cracker. I like the style and aesthetics of the crew introductions where they are all in Christmas clothes and have Christmas decoration around them. The photos I got during the test shoots feature us working - Alex is writing the script, Katie is filming the owls and I am sorting out risk assessments. Although we aren't posed in the same way similarly to A Christmas Cracker, we are all doing our job role which is still a good marketing technique where our followers can see us in action. If I had conducted this research in the pre-production unit, I could have got photos of us holding an owl at the academy one at a time, and then there would be the same look to each of the crew introductions. I would have also got photos of Alix and Katthaylia so I could feature their own crew introduction. Nevertheless, I have featured posts about us three crew members, which is a similar idea that A Christmas Cracker have done for their account. I will plan to adapt the posts I have already shared to explain more of what we are about individually.
|A Christmas Cracker Instagram|
|Countdown marketing technique|
To further research into A Christmas Cracker, I searched for their Facebook page and liked it. By doing this, I will be able to see updates as they post which may inspire me for different marketing techniques that I could use. As Oscar also advised, their profile picture and header are interesting and stand out. Their branding and style is clear and this matches throughout their social media accounts. I looked further into their Facebook account and noticed that the posts are the same as the Instagram. This is one of the reasons I found their other social media pages to see whether they post different content or keep it the same. I found that it is the same on both social media pages, but I understand that they would reach a different type of audience posting on Facebook than they would on Instagram. Relating back to what Emily said depending on our target age range. Millennials would be best targeted through all the different social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, however, the older generation are more likely to only have Facebook accounts, but they like to 'consume in different ways'. Emily's example was for the older generation Facebook will be easier to target, but the posts would be aimed more at practicability and the use of a product rather than it's materials and ethical sourcing. As she said this doesn't really apply to our film, but it was a good example to show me how to look at the ways in which I can appeal to different audiences over the social media platforms.
|A Christmas Cracker Facebook page|
As we are targeting 16-30 year olds, I believe that I should continue posting on our Facebook and Instagram. The younger side to that age range will be most interested in the Instagram, whereas the older side to our age range may be likely to look at Facebook. Similarly to A Christmas Cracker, I would like to continue posting the same content on both platforms to appeal to both the younger side to our age range and the older side.
To extend my research, I looked into more than one other account. The second one I first discovered on Twitter and then I found their Instagram account to have a look into their marketing techniques. The name of the Instagram is the company, the Laughing Mirror Theatre and they are currently creating a play called Detective Inspector. They create new plays quite regularly and they market them all on this one Instagram account. Although they create plays and not films, the plays they create are usually comedies which is similar to VET-MAN. Looking at at their Instagram page, their photos are more raw and less staged than A Christmas Cracker. These type of photos are more like our own. Ours aren't posed or edited and they mainly made up of action shots and BTS from test shoots and shoot days. Although, A Christmas Cracker's Instagram is extremely organised and their style matches throughout I felt that our photos match The laughing Mirror Theatre companies more so. As a result of this, I felt that I could use our photos in the same way as theirs.
|The laughing Mirror Theatre Instagram account|
Once I had established the look of The Laughing Mirror Theatre companies Instagram I looked at each individual post to see how they shared them to their followers. Oscar suggests finding the 'voice' of the film and marketing the posts in that way. For example, if it's a comedy the posts can be kept light-hearted, or if it's a horror the posts can come across as a warning to the viewer. VET-MAN is a comedy so I agree that the posts can be light-hearted to link with the tone of the film. As The Laughing Mirror Theatre company have similar styled photos as us, I wanted to see how they captioned their posts. I noticed that they try to relate to the audience when sharing on their social media pages. For example, the screenshot on the right of the girl looking shocked and concerned is captioned - 'Don't end up looking as concerned as .... does here, book in advance for Midsummer Herders' - this was their current play at the time of this photo being posted. I would like to incorporate our followers by doing the same thing. During the shoot week we shot a many BTS photos and stills where the characters had different facial expressions. For example, Tess' expressions were usually from rolling her eyes or sighing after hearing about another silly story from Tim. A screenshot of her expression could be used on a photo captioned - 'Don't look so fed up like Tess here, only two more weeks until VET-MAN release date!'.
(This blog post is focused on my research into different marketing techniques. All of our own marketing techniques will be shown and explained in blog post - Marketing VET-MAN).
- It was beneficial to follow Oscar's advice to look for other short films similar to VET-MAN in terms of their tone and styling. I was able to take inspiration from both A Christmas Cracker and the Laughing Mirror Theatre company, such as cast and crew introductions and relating the posts to the followers, which I am eager to bring into my own marketing for VET-MAN.
- Contacting Emily and Oscar was beneficial to get other opinions on what I could do to market creatively. I am currently waiting back from Emily for the illustrations that I can use to promote VET-MAN on the social media sites. I also want to market the film in the street rather than just online by using her example of printing the illustrations onto adhesive paper and sticking them on lamp posts and coffee cups in a local cafe. I researched into the actual millennial age and found that it is between 22-37 which is a section of our target audience which is good as the majority of my marketing on social media and on the street will be aimed at that age group. The group before this, 16-22 will be easier to target on social media platforms which I have been consistently doing throughout pre-production and production.