Playing Your Way To The Big Screen

Smart phones are becoming more and more effective as marketing devices as they hold one advantage over traditional advertising routes. They provide an unparalleled level of interaction. And this is something which is increasingly being used by those in the entertainment business.

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Smart phones have presented this new frontier for a long time. They have allowed immediate connection to Facebook and Twitter. Advertisements can be easily targeted towards users. And there has even been a huge rise in sales of movie soundtracks allowing people to listen to an aspect of their favourite movie on the go.

But I was scrolling through the App Store last night and was struck by the number of upcoming movies which were represented by a free downloadable game. New Disney movie Maleficent has released a game, Star Wars has increased its presence with the impending film on the horizon and even the Japan-crushing monster Godzilla is back to not only dominate cinema viewers but also get to them via their smart phones.

Recently we have also had App Store options from Frozen, Despicable Me, Iron Man, The Lego Movie, Turbo and Jaws alongside Spiderman who brought out a game for both the first and the second instalment.

So what is behind this rising trend?

Is it just an easy way for these movie producers to hit consumers with subliminal advertising in the lead up to release dates in order to sell more tickets? Or is it something more?

It probably is an easy way for these movie producers to increase their audiences but it plays a more important role. It creates an enduring relationship with consumers that is much more powerful than simply watching a movie trailer – and also more valuable to both the company and the consumer.

Looking at the way people consumer movies today, it has markedly changed. If the movie is a desperate must-see then audiences will spring for a movie ticket. And if the movie is then so good that it needs to be watched over and over again, audiences will purchase a copy of the DVD (which is probably the case with child-targeted movies) or simply rip the movie from the internet to watch for no money at all.

The inclusion of these apps in the marketing plans of movie producers allows them to reap some of the money they had lost through piracy through the provision of in-app purchases or free publicity to the networks of users. But the value is not solely one-way. Through using these free apps, consumers generally gain access to special footage, extra information and a deeper understanding of the movie leading to a greater experience when they finally engage with the film.