Charles Allison's recent articles
Kevin Smith’s unorthodox approach and social media celebrity drive initial interest in new movie Red State
Kevin Smith’s divisive “DIY” approach to marketing new movie Red State shows how existing fame within the digital space can be leveraged to drive engagement with fans, but may alienate new audiences. Overall, Smith’s creative digital marketing drives intrigue around his new release.
In what he has dubbed “Indie film 2.0”, filmmaker Kevin Smith plans to distribute and market his next movie, Red State, entirely without studio support. Instead, Smith will rely heavily on his powerful online presence, both through Twitter and his podcast network, to promote the movie. Using creative digital marketing such as charity auctions for the right to host posters for the movie online, Smith hopes to drive publicity for Red State without large marketing expenditure.
WaveMetrix social media monitoring shows that Smith’s tactics and social media clout drive consumers to say they are likely to see Red State. Using human analysis, WaveMetrix can ascertain that Smith’s tactics drive people to focus on the director himself, not his movie, mobilising interest from his large social media following, but alienating those who want to take the movie on its own merit.
Kevin Smith’s unorthodox marketing strategy piques consumer interest in seeing Red State:
- Almost half of all consumers discussing the promotion of Red State say they are ‘likely to see’ the movie: These consumers say they find Smith’s approach “interesting” and “support his ethos” which they think will “work for a small film” like Red State by driving “intrigue” in a movie that would otherwise be considered “just another horror film”
- Kevin Smith fans say they will ‘definitely see’ the movie: They say Smith has “successfully signalled a change in direction” after “the recent failure” of previous movie Cop Out and think his “innovative approach” will “mobilise fans” as it shows he “cares about them”. Interest is driven by belief that Smith’s marketing signals his faith in Red State, rather than appreciation of the trailer, however, which is only mentioned by a few
- A quarter of those commenting express little desire to see Red State as they are not fans of Smith or dislike “stunt” marketing: They think Smith is “talentless”, makes “nonsense movies” and remain “unconvinced” by “marketing hype”, which they see as “just old tactics”
Buzz around Kevin Smith himself more mixed as consumers criticise previous releases but praise utilisation of social media fame:
- As Red State’s marketing drives focus on Smith himself rather than the movie, non-fans are driven away: Heavy focus on the director drives high levels of negativity from consumers who dislike his “overrated” work or who say his movies have “sadly deteriorated”, suggesting the approach is not successful at driving new audiences to the movie
- 40% of Kevin Smith buzz concerns the director’s celebrity and personality: Red State’s marketing leads many to reflect on Smith’s online “popularity” and comment that his “smart digital marketing”, such as poster auctions, will effectively utilise “his Twitter fan base” (1.7 million, compared to Pixar’s 950 thousand) though others worry he is “retreating to fans”
- Discussion of the director’s credibility is mixed: Some consumers “applaud” Smith’s “DIY ethos”, though others disagree and think his “divisive” non-studio approach will be “ineffectual”