Paranormal Activity is Marketing Activity
How does a movie shot on a budget of $11,000 in a week in the writer-director's (Oren Peli) home become a top grosser in Hollywood history? Note, cash registers are still ringing. Also note, the movie had in the past (2007) played a few fright festivals.
So, what's different now? What happened?
The answer is one that should turn PA into Marketing legend. Paranormal Activity is the perfect example to brilliant marketing. It got the Marketing Ps, dead right.
As a product, though not pioneering, PA is old wine in a fantastic new bottle. Sure, Blair Witch Project was the pioneer, but PA perfected the art of scary by presenting it in an edgy new format. No jungle or getting lost for PA's characters, instead its the claustrophobic environment of a bedroom that plays out on screen. The cine viewer, by the sheer pull of spooky events in a bedroom, is forced into it, to participate. And viewers participate, because unlike the blood splattered gory movies, PA keeps them on tenterhooks with cutting edge suspense. After all, at some time of our life, our bedrooms scared us enough to look under the bed. So we better be frightened of spooky bedrooms.
PA also got its viewer segment dot on. Note; 'Two weeks ago, Paramount started playing Peli's film at midnight in 16 college towns. Many showings were sold out. Sorry, come back next week, if you dare. No tickets created a hot ticket — the movie grossed $1.2 million in its early, limited engagements — and Paramount stoked the fever by urging fans to go online and "demand" a wider release. More than a million such requests came in, allowing Paramount's website to brag that PA was "the first-ever major film release decided by You." '
A 'You' driven product gets the best communique ever. One that emanates from the consumer (read viewer) himself. Imagine consumers demanding a movie be shown! And what about all the requests that came in? PA soon spread its distribution net to cover as many 'relevant' viewers as possible. This weekend, PA has expanded to all-day runs on 159 screens in 44 cities, and according to early reports, it's headed for a box-office breakout — perhaps the highest three-day gross of any film showing in fewer than 200 venues.
PA is a case in Marketing success. The lessons it can teach are many. But above all, its a lesson that should enthrall small time entrepreneurs worldwide. That you don't have to be an established deep pocket firm to be successful with consumers.
That, all you need is Ingenuity & Marketing.