Welcome to the first article in the #FeemMarketing101 series. This is a series where we will be looking into the right strategies of marketing and promoting movies effectively and cost effectively in Nollywood. In case you missed our intro article on what the series will be about, check it out here.
I was scrolling through my Instagram page the other day, “hearting” every post on my timeline and just generally being an all-round nice guy, and then a post caught my attention. My good friend, Olayinka Epega, put up a poster of an upcoming movie she’s part of titled Isoken and someone dropped a comment saying…well, see for yourself.
This made me sit back a bit and think about the Business Of Movie Marketing in Nollywood. Do we really know what we are doing? Are we going about promoting movies the right way?
A lot of the time, marketing is treated as an afterthought, which should never be the case. After all, you aren’t making your movie to be kept in your house, you are making it for people to flock to the cinemas and see it.
Let’s for a minute, go back to when we were kids. I remember when my mom would ask me to do something and I’d be very reluctant. My dad would then add some little incentive to get me to do the task (admittedly, sometimes, a few spanks are all the motivation needed). He’ll say, “Muyiwa, do what your mom says and we’ll go get Ice-cream on Saturday”.
This was only Monday.
And that simply was it. That’s all that was needed to do the magic.
What am I trying to say? The thought of the sweet taste of the Ice-cream melting in my mouth awakens my senses and gets me excited way before laying my hands on the ice-cream. Now, as the ice-cream maker, how do you get to make us excited about the treat you are about to give us? How early is too early to start watering our taste buds?
The answer is, Never Too Early!
Right from the moment the idea for your movie is conceived and you are 60% certain that it’s going to be shot, it’s no longer a private conversation. Make announcements and carry your audience along.
So what are some of the basics you need to do to start promoting your movie?
- Don’t make marketing an afterthought, Make It Priority.
This is part of the funds you should seek while trying to shoot your film. When you have a production and marketing budget in mind, you will have an idea what amount of marketing you need to do to make some profit.
2. Be Social!
Open Social Media accounts on platforms where you think your audience will be. In most cases, that will be across board with the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube.
3. Have a small but brilliant team consisting of Content Creators, Video Editors and Graphics Designers for managing these channels.
You don’t need more than 3 people for a low budget production. If you have the bucks for more people, sure, but if its a small budget production, 3 people will be enough. And also Make sure your team has a marketing strategy for generating content and raising awareness for your movie.
4. Generate Content While Shooting.
While shooting your film, have your crew feed your content team good stuff for your movie while your graphics and video editing team use their skills to make some magic.
5. Let your team be spontaneous.
Let the trends lead them. When something is noted, let your team swing to action quickly to create content that will drive conversations.
Fear of Giving Away Too Much
Now, some filmmakers will argue that they don’t want too much information about their movies revealed while still in production, an understandable argument. This, however, is where being strategic comes in. You choose what you want the audience to know and they’ll simply follow you.
Even filmmakers like Christopher Nolan who are notorious for keeping things very close to their chests, announce their movies and also have aggressive marketing strategies.
Speaking of Good Marketing, let’s take a look at a few Case Studies.
Let’s look at the recent Box Office Giant, “The Wedding Party” which has grossed over N450,000,000 at the cinemas so far, the biggest ever in Nigerian box office history. How were they able to get here?
“The Wedding Party” was slated for release in December 2016, but its promotion started the moment production began as way back as June 2016. That’s at least 6 months. From my analysis, the marketing of the movie began with little onset photos and videos.
But as the release date drew closer, promotion intensified. It became more personal and began drawing people in.
So what Factors made “The Wedding Party” a success?
Strong Partnership with the right people.
While everyone isn’t going to have such a scale of partnership or success, there is a market for every kind of movie in a country of about 180 million people. It’s all about building the right relationships with the right people. When you have the right people on your project who will put energy into promoting the project from their area of expertise, you are on track for success. Also you should be reasonable and grounded all the time. If you know you are making a movie with less appeal than the usual suspects of Comedies and dramas, don’t go overboard with a budget that could drown you.
Another thing you have to do is to know the size of your market and the right time to make a film.
Every filmmaker in Nigeria who wants to keep making films has to do an analysis of the size of his market before he goes into production. Accountability is what will help you make the next movie. Once you know your market size, you know the budget you should play with and this will then help in determine if you should throw all your funds into that passion project, or make more commercial projects which will then fund the passion project. “The Wedding Party” was an offshoot of the success of Fifty and knowing that Fifty was able to appeal to a majority of the Nigerian movie going market, The Wedding Party was easy to conceive and the success of the movie was easy to project.
A Professional Marketing Team That Knows What They Are Doing.
Having a professional marketing team that knows what they are doing is very important. Your team should know your market like the back of their hands, as this will be important in helping you close good deals with brands. The quality of the team also determines how great your posters and trailers will be. These two are very important parts of making a movie a success.
Take a picture of Adesua and Banky W, two A-List stars almost kissing, spice it up with some really great visuals and graphic design, and you have a winner. The poster alone, has become content to drive conversations.
We’ve taken a look at good movie marketing in recent times, let’s take a look at bad movie marketing in recent times.
For this, let’s take a look at the Curtis Graham directed “Oloibiri.”
This movie struck all the wrong chords in terms of Movie Marketing. Below are my reasons.
Marketing Should never Be uncoordinated, uninspired and should never be an afterthought.
First off, kudos to the marketing team for opening its social media accounts a year and 5 months before Oloibiri’s October 21st 2016 release but in the tim before the movie’s release, how much audience was the movie able to gather?
Yeup, 26 posts and 132 followers. If that’s not poor, I know not what is.
Lets also take a look at what I’ll call a rather silly marketing strategy of identifying the hand of someone sinking in oil.
I get the message, seeing that Oloibiri had a very strong message about the pains and travails of Nigerians living in the oil-rich communities of the Niger Delta, but there are better ways to communicate it.
I’d have said, before even getting to the stage of teasing people with such complex teasers, pull people in, draw their interests. When you have their attention, you can then launch campaigns to get them thinking.
“Oloibiri,” across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, didn’t have up to 3,000 followers. That’s really poor if you ask me.
The little marketing the movie did have, was driven by low quality visuals. I didn’t exactly enjoy the trailer as it wasn’t well cut and edited, and I couldn’t stand looking at the poster. The effect this had on me was the fact that I would simply assume the movie itself wasn’t worthy of being watched. Your graphics and visuals are very important in promoting your movie.
“Oloibiri’s” little box office wins were as a result of good word of mouth marketing. But then, there is only so much a few hundred, maybe a few thousand people can say to make many more troop to the cinema to see a movie. That’s the importance of marketing.
Let’s take a Movie That I predict Will Be the next box office juggernaut.
“Isoken” the Movie, seems on track right now to be a huge box office success if they keep up the aggressive marketing.
Isoken opens in theaters June 2017 but promotion and marketing started as early as mid-February. They kicked off with some simple gimmicks such as the big digital culture we have now which is Memes and Short funny clips. This is effective for a movie which is still around 4 months away. If they continue to build up on their marketing tactics, that might be the big hit of the summer 2017.
But where do they go from here? We will be watching.
On a final note, I will give what I recommend is a proper marketing timeline and stages for a movie.
- Have it in mind to start promoting your movie about 6 months ahead of time.
- Announce your movie the Moment it’s a go! Let us know what you are cooking
- Begin Teasing Us Immediately
- Involve your audience. Let them be a defining part of your movie and let this come in around 3 months to release of the movie.
- Have trailers and teasers rolling in from the 3rd to the 2nd month before release of the movie
- From 2nd month to the date of release, be in people’s faces at least twice a week with something interesting and engaging.
That brings us to the end of the first article in the #FeemMarketing101 series. We will be back with another article in the series soon. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below. We will also love to hear suggestions and advices from you.
But if you feel more comfortable with a private conversation, please send a mail to [email protected].
Till next time, ciao.