Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Twitter Grows Users and Ad Revenue in First Quarter, but Wall Street Shrugs

April 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Twitter gained 5 million monthly active users in the first three months of 2016, breaking the social media giant's user-growth slump of the past two quarters during which it failed to gain—or actually lost—users. According to the company's first-quarter earnings statement, Twitter reported 310 million MAUs, up from the 305 million it had reported during the second half of 2015. Revenue totaled $595 million for the quarter, a 36 percent increase over the first quarter of 2015. Twitter reported $531 million in advertising revenue in the first three months of the year. That's up 39 percent from the same period in 2015. In the U.S., revenue totaled $390 million, while international revenue accounted for another $204 million. However, the company still fell short of earnings expectations, causing its stock to tumble nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading

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How Hollywood Is Successfully Tapping Into Faith-Based Audiences

March 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Hollywood, sometimes considered the last place to find anything divine, has seen the light lately, releasing a flood of faith-infused entertainment that includes TriStar's Heaven Is for Real, Focus Features' The Young Messiah and a live musical version of The Passion on Fox (which aired on Sunday, March 20). And just in time for Easter, the uplifting family drama, Miracles From Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, is expected to hold its own against the big-budget dystopian thriller The Divergent Series: Allegiant. "Hollywood is churning out faith content with a pace and frequency that has not been seen in a generation," said Chris Stone, founder of advocacy and marketing group Faith Driven Consumer. "There's been a real effort to improve the quality, and we've gone from $2 million movies to $20 million movies aimed at the faith crowd." Among the recent hits: Sony's resurrection story Risen has pulled in a respectable $32 million since its February release, and last fall's paean to prayer, War Room, nearly dethroned Straight Outta Compton for the top box office spot, opening at $11 million on one-third as many screens as the N.W.A. biopic. It eventually made $67 million. God's Not Dead 2, a sequel to the $60 million-grossing original about religious freedom, launches April 1. One of the most anticipated films of the year, Paramount and MGM's remake of the iconic swords-and-sandals epic Ben-Hur premieres in August, the same weekend that Lionsgate opens The Shack, based on a best-selling Christian novel. Marketing for values-centric projects, often aimed squarely at the country's churchgoers, has added sophisticated microtargeting and extensive social media to its arsenal, going "direct to pew" to tap into a traditionally underserved audience, Stone said. Grassroots tactics still lead the way, with studios and for-hire Christian outreach firms setting up church screenings and group ticket sales, gathering pastors and Bible study groups for early endorsements and producing educational and sermon-ready materials. In essence, everyone's using the playbook written during the massive on-the-ground campaign a decade ago for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, the most successful faith-based film in history. That approach is often still effective, but there are digital-age updates

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How FX Bids for New Series Without the Big Budget of Netflix

March 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu snap up original series away from linear networks, as well as lure creators with big paydays and promises of creative autonomy, their competitors have had to alter their approaches to bidding for new projects. One of those is FX, which lost out on the bidding for Aziz Ansari's comedy Master of None and the upcoming drama The Crown. Both of those shows went to Netflix after the streaming service "overwhelmed us with shock and awe levels of money and commitment," FX CEO John Landgraf told reporters in January . He also used a "Moneyball" analogy when comparing FX to Netflix, explaining, "Basically, we're competing against payrolls, if you will, a la the Oakland A's and New York Yankees, that are three or four times ours." Because he can't match Netflix dollar for dollar, Landgraf has shifted the focus of his pitches, highlighting other attributes of the network when bidding for shows. Landgraf highlights his marketing team, which has been named PromaxBDA's In-House Marketing Team of the Year for five consecutive years. "I think the talent appreciates that," he told Adweek. Landgraf also emphasizes the personal touch and attention he can give FX's shows versus Netflix, which now has 100 series in the pipeline—55 for adults, 45 for children. "Our network is more of a bespoke organization than a factory. We're at about 18 shows, and that's the most that I can personally pay attention to," said Landgraf. While he could maybe do as many as 20, "I'm at the max in terms of being able to read scripts, watch rough cuts, have a thoughtful input and dialogue." And that's important, even when the network doesn't have much creative feedback in terms of notes for producers. Landgraf said that his deal with Louis CK for Louie specified that the network wasn't able to give him notes.

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After Spoofing SI’s Swimsuit Issue, FX’s Archer Wants You To Turn Off Your Cell Phones in Theaters

March 10, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

FX has been making a lot of noise with its marketing campaign for Archer's upcoming Season 7, which has already spoofed the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and recreated Magnum P.I.'s opening credits. But now, the network's marketing team is quieting things down for the next phase of its Archer campaign: a new PSA urging movie theaters to silence their cell phones. The spot, which will begin airing Friday in Spotlight Cinema Networks' 200 arthouse venues nationwide, features Archer and Lana, the stars of FX's hit animated comedy. It will run for three weeks, until Thursday, March 31, the day of Archer's Season 7 premiere. This is the third time that Archer's production team, Floyd County Productions, has created a "turn off your cell phone" PSA for Spotlight. "We've done different sequences each year. We change it up and have a whole new setting," said Lance Reiss, svp of marketing for FX. The previous spots were both gold winners in the PromaxBDA Awards' "Promos at the Movies" category, in 2015 and 2013. Last month, the network partnered with Sports Illustrated to feature faux swimsuit shots of its female characters in the swimsuit issue and "The Girls of Archer" branded content online. Because Archer is animated, most of the marketing requires close collaboration between Reiss' team and the show's executive producers, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, who need to incorporate any marketing-related animation into the show's production schedule. "Yes, they are extremely busy making a show, but the great thing is I think they're marketers at heart too, because they really respond when we come to them," said Reiss. For example, Reed and Thompson came up with one of the first components of this year's campaign: the shot-for-shot remake of Magnum P.I.'s opening credits, featuring the Archer cast, which FX posted in early February to tease season 7, which finds the former spies moving to L.A. to work as private investigators. "So that's part of a collaboration of, they have an idea, can we make it part of our marketing campaign, or we have an idea for our marketing campaign, can they help us out with it? That's where it's really become such a dynamic collaboration between the network and the animation studio," said Reiss. "We help motivate each other, and in the end, I think it benefits the show and keeps the show fresh." And there's more to come, said Reiss. "We capitalized on the SI swimsuit issue, but there are other key themes and events that are going on in the marketplace—political buzz, spring break—so we decided to take our Archer-esque shot at those as well," he said. To capitalize on the country's fascination/revulsion with Donald Trump's Presidential campaign, FX is partnering with Uproxx on a feature—"Who Said It Best: Trump or Archer?"—which will run next week. "It's very timely, and it's perfect in tone with the show, as well as capitalizing on what's happening around us in society," said Reiss, who previously worked with Uproxx last year on branded content featuring "hacked" naked photos from the phone of Archer character Pam Poovey . The network has partnered with the website Total Frat Move to feature a photo submission contest centered around spring break, and Pam Poovey's 10 tips for spring break

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FX and Sports Illustrated Feature ‘The Girls of Archer,’ Swimsuit Issue-Style

February 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue feels a little more animated than usual, it's likely because of the characters from FX's Archer. As part of the marketing campaign for the hit animated comedy's upcoming seventh season, the network partnered with Sports Illustrated to feature faux swimsuit shots of its female characters in both the print issue and online. Last week's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue included an ad featuring Pam Poovey, one of the characters from Archer. The prominently displayed photography and swimsuit credits—key components of swimsuit issue art—mention two of the show's male characters, Sterling Archer and Ray Gillette. The ad was one of several surprising elements in this year's swimsuit issue, which featured three separate covers and a Snickers back-cover ad with an epic Photoshop fail . Starting today, an expanded look at "The Girls of Archer" is available as branded content on SI.com's Swim Daily , part of its swimsuit section. The package includes swimsuit shots of the show's three female lead characters—Pam (voiced by Amber Nash), Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) and Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler)—and more information about the tie-in between SI and Archer, which has its Season 7 premiere on March 31. Images of Pam and Lana also appear elsewhere on the Sports Illustrated site to drive traffic to the branded content. "Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue is a cultural icon, and we were thinking of fun ways we could take part," said Lance Reiss, svp of marketing for FX

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Derek Zoolander Spoofs ‘The More You Know’ PSAs for NBCUniversal

February 11, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Zoolander 2 might not be much of a movie—the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy has been "critically savaged" —but the movie's marketing campaign has been epic. In its latest masterstroke, Paramount Pictures has teamed up with NBCUniversal for a multiplatform, cross-portfolio series of PSAs parodying NBC's "The More You Know" campaign. In the series of spots, called "The Outside Matters," Stiller's male model character Derek Zoolander will tackle society's most serious issues, like the importance of outer beauty. Stiller stars as Zoolander in all of the spots, which will air on NBC, Bravo, E!, USA and Telemundo, as well as the networks' digital and social platforms. The videos, which were created by Paramount and NBCU's in-house Content Innovation Agency (CIA), will be tailored for each network's audience. Fandango will release all the videos on its Fandango site (where bonus content will be available), as well as its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. "I can't underscore enough the power of contextually relevant content that engages fans of the franchise and attracts new audiences," said John Harrobin, NBCUniversal's CMO for advertising sales, in a statement. "That's exactly what this humorous campaign does, while staying true to the film's spirit. There is no one better to raise awareness about this movie than Derek Zoolander himself, through parody PSAs tailored to each of our diverse audiences at scale." Stiller and Paramount have gone all out to promote Zoolander 2, with marketing stunts that have included everything from a Fiat appearance to a bespoke perfume ad campaign . Last week, Derek Zoolander crashed Barbie's Instagram , while on Tuesday, Kiehl's opened The Derek Zoolander Center for People Who Don't Age Good in New York's West Village. Stiller got an early jump on his NBCU appearances last weekend, when he popped up on Saturday Night Live as Zoolander, alongside Owen Wilson's Hansel, to discuss politics. Yes, politics.

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How CBS Has Spent the Past Year Trying to Get You to Watch Super Bowl 50

February 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When George Schweitzer was researching CBS's coverage of the very first Super Bowl as part of his preparation for the network's Super Bowl 50 marketing campaign, he made note of a Washington Post article from January 1967. "It said in the TV column, 'CBS is pulling out all the stops and promoting this game all over, using their celebrities,'" said Schweitzer. "And I was imagining, what were 'the stops' in 1967?" Whatever they were, they don't come close to the exhaustive, yearlong marketing effort Schweitzer, the president of CBS Marketing Group, and his team have concocted as they try to attract as many viewers as possible for Sunday's Super Bowl telecast. "We were there for the first one in 1967," he said of Super Bowl I, which was jointly televised by CBS and NBC. "Since then, it has really transformed into a national day of celebration." And CBS is hoping the game's 50th year will yield its biggest celebration yet. "This one is very special," said Schweitzer, who is working on his sixth Super Bowl for CBS. "The Super Bowl is the singular biggest event in our culture, in our business, in the mainstream, in everything. It has so many moving parts beyond the game. What we've learned over the years is how to activate all those other moving parts, because it attracts, obviously, people who don't watch a football game all year long." Because of that, CBS didn't waste any time in starting to promote Super Bowl 50. The network rolled out its very first promo last Feb. 2, just one night after NBC aired last year's Super Bowl (which drew 114.4 million viewers), and debuted the network's manta for the coming year: "We were there for the first. We'll be there for the 50th." Adweek responsive video player used on /video. "That was what I would call a 'plant the flag' kind of spot," said Schweitzer. "Once the other one was over, we established CBS immediately as the home of the 50th." Taking his cue from the traditional 50th anniversary color, Schweitzer created a campaign that seemed to bathed in gold. "We've embraced it in a big way," he said, "because we think it helps achieve what we want, which is to turn this into more than the event itself, and make it look like it's very coordinated and cohesive on CBS. And that went from not just the network, but our local stations, our O&O [owned-and-operated] stations, our affiliate stations, our 120 radio stations, all of our online and streaming services. Anything that isn't nailed down around here is part of our gold celebration." For the Super Bowl 50 campaign, the network shot around 40 of CBS's prime-time, news and sports celebrities in various football scenarios and traveled to a smelting plant in California, where it photographed molten gold getting poured into a mold, using that footage for promotion. The gold motif extended to CBS's fall campaign, so= even when the network wasn't specifically promoting the Super Bowl, it retained those promos' key elements. On Dec.

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How Showtime Is Marketing Its New Drama ‘Billions’ to Wall Street

January 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

While HBO got the mafia to pay attention to The Sopranos, and AMC played up Mad Men to the agency world, Showtime is taking its new show Billions to the bank—and the bankers and financiers on Wall Street and beyond. "People love to see themselves, good or bad, depicted in popular entertainment," said Showtime's evp and CMO Don Buckley. "I remember reading quotes years ago about how the mob loved to watch The Sopranos." The drama stars Damian Lewis as hedge fund mogul Bobby Axelrod and Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, the U.S. attorney who tries to bring him down. Malin Akerman and Maggie Siff star as their wives, respectively. Andrew Ross Sorkin, financial reporter for The New York Times and co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box, is an executive producer

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Turner Shakes Up Its Ad Sales Division to Streamline Agency and Client Partnerships

December 8, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

How big is the Turner Ad Sales reorganization the company unveiled today? Very, according to president Donna Speciale. "This is basically the beginning of reimagining advertising," she said. That's a tall order, but Speciale has spent more than three years preparing for the moves, which she said will streamline agency and client partnerships while boosting ROI for clients. The biggest change is the addition of a new unit Speciale called "critical." The Client Strategy and Ad Innovation unit will be led by Michael Strober, who was recently promoted to evp after previously serving as svp, entertainment sales.

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How FX Is Facing Down the Challenges of Promoting Season 2 of The Strain

July 9, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Devising a marketing campaign for the return of 2014's top-rated freshman cable scripted series among adults 18-49 might seem easy—all those viewers will simply come back for more, right? But FX isn't taking anything for granted when it comes to promoting The Strain's July 12 return. That's because no matter how successful Season 1 was—Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse's vampire thriller was the No. 8 overall scripted cable series in the demo with 2.4 million viewers in live-plus-seven—marketing a show's second and third seasons is a tougher challenge. "For us, Season 2 and Season 3 are more important, because Season 1 you have the benefit of newness. It's like a romance—it's very easy to fall in love the first three months," said Stephanie Gibbons, FX's president of marketing and digital media. But after that, "all these other shows are competing for attention and love

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