In Why Do Most Movie Websites Suck?, [AdAge] PR/marketing totem Chris Thilk writes that in many of his film marketing reviews for Movie Marketing Madness, he is struck by how little attention is being paid lately in developing a film’s “Official Site”.
I agree, and have been wondering the same thing ever since a woolly mammoth opened the first Friendster account.
There are several pillars of support for a film: the individuals, the studio(s), the distributors and more, each with both a personal brand and a combined brand in the film.
And while an individual film might be a marketing sprint, (as Chris says) those other pillars are more enduring and –if properly maintained– can all be readily combined to push a film while also furthering their personal identities.
This takes the hub-and-spoke web publishing model (also mentioned in Chris’s column) to what might be seen as an axle dimension, with the individuals building brand recognition over much longer stretches of time, (the axle) and the individual project being the wheel and spoke supported by them.
All said, the official web-site is the single most focused gathering point for all of these energies, and should be treated as such by presenting all the information that will help the project.
It seems lately that companies are getting distracted by sparkly new online toys, (Flash game, etc.), and forgetting that even the most casual flicks are seen by people who somehow feel a need and an attachment to the property.
And when they start feeling that attachment, they will go looking for more information, and wouldn’t you rather them get it from you than force them to root around in a whimsical web crapshoot, finding whatever might be out there, or worse, getting distracted and pulled away from your project by some other shiny thing?
This is another reason to control your message and brand in the one place where you have the most control. Your Official Site. The rest of it is great, but the heart of it is there.