Google Hosts Hollywood Movie Promo II

NEW YORK Google upped its involvement with movie studios, kicking off its second promotion for a big-budget Hollywood movie in the past month.

Google earlier this week began to promote a video-sharing contest for The Break-Up, a Vince Vaughn-Jennifer Anniston Universal Pictures movie due for release June 2. The contest (http://video.google.com/breakup.html) invites Google Video users to upload their videos of relationships that have met unkind ends. The section, which Google will promote on its video home page and via search ads, has clips of the movie for visitors to watch. It links to Universal’s movie Web site, www.thebreakupmovie.net, and a promotional venue, www.nationalbreakupday.com.

“We could have had [the contest] on our site,” said Doug Neil, svp of digital marketing at Universal. “Working with Google we’re harnessing a lot more promotional exposure.”

The Universal-Google promotion comes on the heels of a similar effort Google took with Sony Pictures for The Da Vinci Code. Google engineers created an online puzzle for the film, which users could download to their personalized Google home page. According to Web measurement firm Hitwise, the portion of traffic to the Sony Pictures’ Web site coming from Google rose from 3 percent prior to the promotion to 30 percent. It has undertaken another partnership with Nike, which is using its social-networking software to power soccer site www.Joga.com.

In all three cases, Google was not paid for its efforts, choosing instead to use the attention of the mass-market movies or the World Cup to attract users to its newer products that are far less popular than its search engine.

“People want to interact with brands that they love,” said Hunter Walk, a business product manager with Google Video. “Things like this give people a chance to be involved in a story in a different way.”

Google Video is not the top video-sharing site online, trailing upstart YouTube, which has also undertaken promotions with movie studios and entertainment companies. The Break-Up promotion will not appear on YouTube, Neil said, although Universal is in talks with the site to work together.

“This whole idea of user-generated content is important for our marketing campaigns,” he said.