Friday, May 6, 2016

What Makes Effective Promotional Material for Films

As promised we're posting a blog on promotional postcards for films. We certainly had the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of various graphic designs as we watched ticket buyers look over the varied selection in front of our laptops. Certain cards were looked at often while others were ignored. We ran out of the ones with the most appeal.

The best cards have a graphic that creates curiosity. The Population Zero card sucked everyone right in. It was the most examined of any card in front of us because the picture was so striking. Everyone who picked it up turned it over and read the back to see what the film was about. They found it isn't about zero population growth.

The Film Title must be prominent and clearly visible. Look at this card. We had several people ask us why the film wasn't in the program because they thought the title was You Are Invited. It isn't. The title is American Wrestler: The Wizard. Compare this card to Population Zero's, where the title is prominent and could not possibly be missed.

The card must convey information about the film that gives the reader some idea what the film is about. A one or two sentence synopsis is good, but the length isn't as important as the information conveyed. The card for Madtown had several paragraphs while Population Zero's had one.

A few well-chosen words can do the trick, especially when images will show what the film is about. The card for the Russian film Battalion. did this effectively. Nearly everyone who picked it up took it with them because the images drew them in. Personally your scribe wishes the filmmakers hadn't put a big red sticker across the woman's chest because it hid her uniform, but you can't miss when the film would be showing. 
The card must list a website or Facebook page where more information is available. It can be on the front or the back, but it must be legible. 

The promotional material can be blank on the back. I like them that way because I use postcards to send brief notes to family. 

Size, or form, should follow function. In other words, it should be determined by how it will be distributed. Postcards aren't the only effective size and they are expensive. One Big Home's filmmakers passed out a a cost-effective half-page flyer that didn't have a brief synopsis of the film. It was effective because he talked about the film to the people who took the paper from him. The flyer was just a memory trigger.
Avoid Cliches. Silhouettes and people looking soulfully across a body of water are overused images.

Here are some of our favorite cards.
We sat across from this poster for The Lennon Report for 8 days and saw something new all the time.
This card reflects the Cat, Bird Coyote's unique imagery. Too bad the sticker covers some of the graphics.

The film Year by the Sea is based on a best-selling book and the card looks like a book cover. This card was popular.

A minister's robe decorated with rainbow wheels gives an impression of the theme of An Act of Love. The back has a one sentence synopsis of its story.

Isn't this dog the cutest? Of course you wants to know what he's looking at, so you want to see the film and learn why How You Look at It matters.

No comments:

Post a Comment