Warner Finds Success in Custom Local Spots

NEW YORK When it came to promoting small-budget film The Painted Veil, Warner Independent Pictures decided to take a new approach. It supplemented its national TV buys with customized local spots telling viewers the local theater showing the film.

Early results from the program, executed by WPP Group’s Mediacom, are promising, said Laura Kim, evp of marketing for Warner Independent. A market showing the localized spots doubled ticket sales compared to a similar market without the commercials, she said.

The campaign, which ran in late December for the small-budget film, is the first movie promotion run through Spot Runner, the Web-based platform for targeted local TV buys. WPP Group invested in the Los Angeles-based company in October, part of a $40 million financing round.

Warner Independent selected 18 markets with theaters carrying the film. For each market, commercials were customized to tell viewers the specific theaters showing The Painted Veil. In all, the campaign had 36 different commercials.

Kim said using Spot Runner did not save the studio money, but probably increased the effectiveness of its marketing, based on early ticket sales in those markets. Too often for small films, she said, viewers would see spots for film’s that are not showing at local theaters.

“It doesn’t bring the cost down of buying local TV but it increases the value,” she said.