A Note on Marketing Animation to Adults

This is a brief post, but the TV was on in the background with Last Comic Standing on. Long story short, there was a tie-in promotion for the upcoming film Despicable Me (which I posted about just last week). There was a fair amount of self-deprication going on, with the hosts going on about the “inevitable” promotion for the film.

It got me thinking though, here was a promotion (however silly) for an animated film in the middle of a TV show clearly aimed at adults (or at least teenagers). Now granted, was probably only to inform parents that there is a fun kids film coming out in a week or two, in which case it’ll probably do the job.

It’s been long known that putting advertisements aimed at adults (like those for lawyers, etc.) on during kids TV shows is effective. The opposite isn’t true of course, there aren’t many kids that watch Jay Leno, but there is no reason why we don’t see more kids films being advertised during adult’s TV time. I just wish it was a bit more inventive.

I Have Arrived as a Blogger Thanks to Despicable Me

"Nonsense" you say, "surely you’re already a blogger, you’re blogging right now!" This is true, however today I received my first unsolicited e-mail chock full of promotional stuff for an upcoming film. Which film you ask? Why Despicable Me of course.

This post is not necessarily about the film however, we all know I’m looking forward to that, even if the teaser and trailer don’t explain all that much about the film. Nonetheless I will use this opportunity to dissect the e-mail in question and comment on the ideas presented within.

There is little doubt that it was sent to not only inform me of the new film, but also to get me to blog about it. Fair enough, although I was going to blog about it anyway, just not today.

First up is "Gru-gle", which is basically Google (geddit?) custom search with some fancy themes (hey, it’s even got Cinco de Mayo). It’s fun for about 2 seconds then you’re left wondering. Surely a custom iGoogle theme or something of that nature would have been more appropriate. Trying to divert people to a custom webage is a lot harder than simply persuading them to switch themes on their homepage.

Next up is "Grugle Earth" (geddit), which seems to be tied in with some marketing project where Gru’s "minions" will be scattered all over the country and you use Grugle Earth to spot them. Seeing as it uses Google Earth which isn’t on my computer, I can only vouch for the concept. Again it’s fun but it must be something for the kids. I’m certainly not too excited about it. The only thing is that it seems quite complicated for kids, especially younger ones. Maybe it’s just me and kids these days know how to upload photos to the web and such, but methinks adult help will be necessary for this one.

Last but not least, we have the obligatory web-based game, "GruTube" (geddit?) and the actual webpage of the film itself in addition to the now-mandatory facebook and twitter links.

How to rate all of this? Without going into too much detail, it alls seems to be the fairly standard movie-promotion stuff and seeing as this is the first film I’ve actually received something like this for, I can’t say for certain how it stacks up against the competition. That said, it was a pleasant surprise and it did encourage me to look into the film and its promotional baggage a bit more thoroughly than I normally would. Another pleasant surprise was a load of stills from the movie. From past experience, it can be tricky to come by really decent "official" images, so this will be great when it comes time to write about the film (hey, I’m doing that right now and guess where I got the pictures from)!

The only thing I would change, and I guess this is a bit more to do with this being a one-man operation, is that there was nothing in the e-mail explaining why I should blog about these tie-ins. I mean, I already knew the film was coming out, and I already presumed that there would be tie-ins, but there was no reason given that I should write about them, besides the suggestion that I should "check them out". The only thing that comes close to a reason given is that I can use Grugle Earth to find out where the "Min-vasion" will hit.

I’m not rounding on whoever actually wrote this, if anything, it did its intended purpose which was to get me to write about it, which I did, and it would have done an even better job it had plenty of reasons why I should have written about it. Perhaps it is just assumed that people will write about something, I don’t know, I’m not in that line of business. I’m just saying it would be nice to see something along the lines of something like this:

Hey, Charles (I would expect a formal salutation, mail-merge has been around for decades, there’s no reason for not using it if you have my e-mail address), we know you like to blog about animation an seeing as Despicable Me is coming out really soon, we thought we would send you some information in advance of the movie so you’ll know as much as you need ahead of time.

First off, we’ve decided to create "Gru-gle" (geddit) as a pun on everyones favourite search engine. Why not give it a go? There’s more to it than meets the eye.

Next up we have "Grugle Earth". As you probably already know, Gru uses his Minions for everything. Seeing as they’re aliens, we thought it would be cool to have a "Min-vasion" here on Earth! We plan to have them pop up in places around the country and use "Grugle Earth" to allow fans to spot them. You can find all the details on the "Grugle Earth" website.

Lastly, we also have a web-based flash game which we hope you enjoy as much as we did, as well as the actual website itself, which we’ve attempted to make much more enjoyable for kids to navigate while still giving parents and adult fans like yourself the information you need.

In addition, we also have the usual facebook and twitter pages that will enable you and your readers to keep up to date with the latest news in the run-up to the film’s release.

As a bonus, we have also included some promotional images that you can use in advance of the films release because there is no reason why you should have to go and find them yourself.

We hope you find this information useful and if you have any questions just let use know.


Etc, etc.

A letter like that would be much, much more likely to encourage me to blog favourably about the movie. I’m pleased though, I never thought I would get something like this, at least not for a long, long time. 🙂