UGC Film MarketingThese days, “user-generated content” is an aspect of virtually every marketing campaign – whether it’s done intentionally or not. The fact is, if you have a movie/product/campaign worth talking about, people are going to talk. And they’re going to create their own content.

So, why not harness that content? Why not direct the conversation in a way that builds hype and anticipation around your film? Check out these three ways you can start encouraging user-generated content that works in your favor…

“WOW!” Your Audience With Video

The other day, I came across #wantnewcar, a Honda campaign designed by Jen Winston. The concept is simple, but the idea behind it is worth a million bucks. The campaign asked car owners to Tweet about their car problems with the hashtag #wantnewcar.

As the Tweets came in, Honda fired back in real time with 30-second spots, posters, and Vine and Instagram videos. How cool would it be to have a major corporation respond to your Tweet with a 30-second commercial?! This takes “fan engagement” to a whole new level.

I can see the film industry taking hold of this strategy on both the small and big budget levels. Why not push a similar campaign by encouraging fans to Tweet questions about your upcoming film, and then having a director or lead actor respond to the Tweets in personalized videos?

“Choose Your Own Adventure”

Remember those “choose your own adventure” books of the ‘80s and ‘90s? Kids could pick what would happen to the book’s characters and jump to different chapters to see the story of their choice unfold. The Sims videogame creator, Will Wright, took that concept to new heights in 2010, when he pitched The Creation Project, a television show that allows fans to create their own storyboards and vote the story they like best all the way to production.

For unknown reasons, the project remained in the “concept” stage and never got off the ground. However, as production costs drop and as fans become more involved in film marketing campaigns, I see this concept as one that’s loaded with potential for the film industry.

Possible approaches:

  • If promoting a sequel (or widely known story), create a contest that encourages fans to write their own 10-minute storyboard. Have fans vote on a winning storyboard and produce a short based on the winning script.
  • Create a short series of videos that allow fans to choose an outcome, similar to Coca-Cola’s 2013 Super Bowl campaign (Coke Chase).

Encourage YouTube Reviews

Remember when Sony got busted for creating a fictitious film critic and his equally fictitious reviews of their own movies?

I’m not advocating that.

However, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging YouTube thought leaders (through legal means) to create reviews of your film. Here, I cautiously propose, “Any press is good press.” Remember the “crazy Twilight girl,” whose overly emotional response to the film’s trailers generated millions upon millions of views? Now imagine that kind of attention harnessed by a film marketing agency!

There are a number of ways to legally promote your product without slapping your company logo on the spot. Why not give this guerilla approach a try?

Where do you see film marketing and user-generated content coming together? Do any other successful strategies or techniques come to mind?

[Image courtesy of Maria Reyes-McDavis.]

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