Fireside chat with Sony's movie marketing experts

Posted by Kyle Montero on June 26th, 2012 at 11:17 am

This morning, veteran entertainment marketer Gordon Paddison, CEO of Stradella Road, interviewed Elias Plishner and Jake Zim for the Keynote Fireside Chat at iMedia's Entertainment Marketing Summit in Hollywood, CA. Not only was the fireside chat as romantic as it sounds, but it also brought out flames of insight into the film marketing world.

Elias Plishner is the senior vice president of worldwide digital media for Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment (a long title for a man with a long list of accomplishments). And Jake Zim is the senior vice president of digital marketing for Sony Pictures Entertainment. His accomplishments are thoroughly detailed here (yes, his own Wikipedia page), but recently consisted of managing the digital creative and brand strategy on movies such as Men in Black 3 and 21 Jump Street. In addition, while working at 20th Century Fox, he led the digital marketing strategy for the mega-movie "Avatar," which included a record-breaking launch of the trailer on Apple Trailers, receiving over 4 millions streams in 24 hours.  Basically, these Sony folks know what they are doing.

So, important question: How does one become a vendor for Sony? According to Plishner, it boils down to offering three ingredients for a successful recipe: Story, scale, and innovation. Sony hopes to reach consumers by creating a story with universal appeal that can be tailored to specific audiences. Given that humans are impulse driven, Sony hopes to tease out action by appealing to their emotions. With regards to scale, Zim acknowledges that Sony must filter its marketing messages through “short windows” of engagement. The phrase that governs his content mentality is “Two commas, or spare me the drama.” Lastly, Sony always hopes to be on top of recent technological trends to stay as innovative as possible.

For example, in a recent campaign for the remake of the movie “Total Recall,” Sony created a campaign around the underlying motif of the movie: aspiration – the universal dream of wanting to be something bigger. Accordingly, Sony partnered with companies like Yahoo and ESPN to give fans the chance to enter into the worlds of their dreams. For instance, for the fan with dreams of becoming a secret agent, Sony sent them to spy school. In addition, the individual with aspirations of becoming a sports anchor was sent to shadow a sports anchor at a live sporting event. So, Sony spreads its marketing messages through the creation of fan experiences. By allowing fans to follow their dreams, Sony creates a campaign built upon aspiration that comes full circle as viewers see the film.

So, how does Sony measure the success of their campaigns? According to Plishner, it is with a digital marketing report card. The report card measures five things,  allowing the company to continuously measure its campaign's progress, adjusting marketing messages accordingly.

In conclusion, paraphrasing the words of Zim, "It is a great time to be in the movie marketing business." As the summit begins, it is clear that the time is now to take full advantage of all the special digital marketing tools at our disposal.

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