This online campaign for a film hitting theaters today (April 14, 2005). This features online flash advertising in various units as well as an interactive website featuring trailers, e-greeting cards and cast bios and a MySpace page. The ad units feature a pinup-style picture of Gretchen Mol as Betty Page which expands from a standard block to fill the right column of the page. The background is yellow and features the release date and cities (the picture is in limited release in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles) as well as a link to the website.
This is a good example of a well-executed online campaign which is both attention-grabbing and targeted. It shows how a brand which needs to exploit a niche audience (presumably tracking the resurgent success of throwback burlesque shows among feminists and the ultra-hip in coastal cities) early in order to build momentum for a national launch can do this effectively online.
Here are a few things we like about this campaign by the numbers:
- Strong Visual Impact – Yellow was a good choice for the background of these spots as it is attention-grabbing without ruining the page look of the websites we observed the campaign running on, like the NY Times. The visual images used for this campaign are simple and clear, which is critical (and so often ignored online).
- Balanced Appeal – The trick of a campaign for a movie like this (an arthouse film trying to strike a balance between naughty, nostalgia and – well, art) is that it needs to show a clear visual image that captures all of those features. The pictures of Gretchen Mol in this campaign do a very good job of this. They are playful and retro without being revealing or crossing the line in a PG-13 onine world. (The film is rated ‘R’ but the advertising venues are more mainstream). This delivers some of the brand benefits (cool enough for hipsters, retro enough for downtown-ers, naughty enough for guys) succinctly and in a manner that does not condescend.
- Good Use of Online Toolbox - While it is not innovative, this campaign does a good execution on MySpace, (the social networking site that nobody over 22 seems to understand) as well as a simple and efficient website.
The danger with this campaign is that different people will come to it with different expectations, and some may be disappointed. Is it a tragedy – a tail of exploitation? Is it a post-feminist empowerment story? We’re not sure. The danger of soft appeal to several different audiences lies in the ability to meet expectations. This film will not be successful unless the word of mouth delivered by early audiences is strong. A critical part of building brand fanatics is to make sure that you carefully manage their expectations. Then it is possible to exceed expectations and gain endorsement from these early enthusiasts. This advertising blog may have missed the point, but we found the brand positioning slightly difficult to tease out of the campaign.
Branding Bottom Line:
This campaign teases more than it pleases but shows what can be done online.