Universal Studios faced an embarrassment ofunlinkedriches when it set out to promote five different pay-per-view movies —Meet the Parents, Bring It On, The Watcher, Nurse Betty
and Rocky & Bullwinkle — in April 2001.
With varying genres, ratings and box office revenue, creating a catchall campaign was challenging. The answer was to let the stronger titles —Meet the Parents
and Bring It On— help drive the weaker ones in its April FlickFest promotion.
The studio created a "Take 5" incentive program for cable operators, which provided more high-end merchandise the more titles they promoted. Materials for all five movies were included in one kit, allowing operators to mix and match as they saw fit.
Play-O-Forms game sheets were created as an added incentive for affiliates. Systems could reconstruct the April FlickFest logo and receive prizes from Universal.
On the consumer side, Universal created an online game, where visitors were asked to match a line of dialogue with a movie. Anyone playing the game was automatically entered into a drawing to win a trip to the 2002 Maui Film Festival. The package included airfare, rental car, a five-night hotel stay, $500 in spending money and tickets to the festival. A separate, but similar, prize package was available for a cable affiliate.
The bottom line, of course, was to increase PPV usage and revenue for the five movies. Universal bought ad time on Black Entertainment Television, Comedy Central, Fox Family, MTV: Music Television, TBS Superstation and Turner Network Television, TNN, TV Guide Channel and USA Network. TV spots also appeared on 18,400 flights on American Airlines, America West, Continental and Delta. The Movie Loft, a 30-minute PPV highlights program, also ran the spots.
Online banners were featured on AOL, www.blinddate.excite.com, Bolt, www.cartoonnetwork.com, E! Online, Hollywood, IMDb, www.mauifilmfestival.com, Mplayer, MTV, Netbroadcaster, Nickelodeon, Playboy, Real Networks, Shockwave, TV Guide Online, www.universalstudios.com
and www.WWF.com. Print ads appeared in TV Guide, Satellite Direct
and US Weekly.
Other marketing materials include color ad slicks, regional radio ads, direct mail and bill stuffers, posters and TelVue PPV messages. Premium items included fleece blankets, flannel pajamas, slippers, popcorn, Meet the Parents
toilet magnets, tote bags, Bring It On
varsity jackets, The Watcher
watches, a Nurse Betty
portable TV/radio, Rocky & Bullwinkle
stuffed animals and a Meet the Parents
handheld lie detector.
FlickFest helped make Meet the Parents
the best PPV revenue earner and buy rate performer in Universal history, beating out American Pie. The promotion also helped Bring It On
land in fourth place on the studio's all-time revenue/buy rate list.
The promotion helped all five titles perform much better than projected. While Meet the Parents
beat revenue projections by 94 percent, Bring It On
was up 232 percent over projections, Nurse Betty
144 percent, The Watcher
75 percent and Rocky & Bullwinkle
The campaign delivered 87 million impressions and Web site traffic reached an all-time high of 829,000 page views and 126,000 unique visitors in one week alone. Consumer email opt-in list participants grew by more than 30 percent.
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