In for the Close-Up: Studios Take New Tack With Media

HOLLYWOOD – Paramount Pictures’ ad for The Firm in the June 23 edition of The Wall Street Journal ended up on employee walls at offices around the country. The full-page, allcopy ad, ‘No Job Is Worth Dying For,’ struck a nerve with the business people it was designed to attract and probably encouraged them to buy a ticket to the film, considering it registered a record $45 million after six days out.
Paramount’s targeted placement – designed to reach the lawyers and other upscale business people who’d be inclined to eat up this adult tale of a law firm gone bad – is The Journal’s first from a movie studio and Paramount’s first in a business publication, though probably not the last. More studios are likely to embrace targeted media as it becomes less efficient to reach moviegoers through traditional channels like television.
‘You’re seeing greater sophistication on the part of the studio marketing departments in trying to target specific audiences and not just playing a numbers game,’ said Si Kornblit, former evp/worldwide marketing for Universal. Kornblit was referring to the typical studio practice of buying to reach as large an audience as possible. ‘With network (audience) shares down, it’s costing more to reach the same number of people. So if there are other avenues to target your prime audience, that’s smart.’
Paramount also placed ads for The Firm in law journals and in the Los Angeles Times Magazine – only the second time the Times Magazine’s had an ad from a movie advertiser. Columbia, meanwhile, prominently placed an ad for In the Line of Fire next to the contents page in the July 5 issue of U.S. News & World Report, with a similar strategy. The ad was U.S. News’ first from a movie advertiser.
Kornblit expects that the next step in the evolution of print buys will be to fine-tune the ads in terms of creative content. ‘It becomes more costly, but it may be more cost-effective,’ he said.
Paramount executives did not return calls; Columbia declined comment.
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