Monday, November 14, 2011

The Innovative Marketing Approach of The Avengers

The Avengers has set itself up to be one of the most anticipated superhero movies in recent memory.

Written and directed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon and slated for release next year, it will feature popular comic book characters turned movie icons Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, and Thor.

One aspect of the movie that has helped raise a fever pitch of excitement is the use of previously released movies to highlight each Avenger. Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were released in 2008 and lay out their heroes' respective back stories. 2011's Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger set up these characters backgrounds in the same way. Each of the movies has been building up to the 2012 Avengers movie. It doesn't take a master's degree to see how high production value and faithfulness to the comics has helped to create huge anticipation for the 2012 movie.

This type of marketing is an incredibly clever and innovative way to build up appetite for a product.

The trailer for The Avengers has been viewed over 25 million times since its release. Producing five interconnected movie franchises in this way can be considered as a strategy to raise consumer awareness. Each separate movie was a smash hit and hinted at future movies. This created awareness among existing comic book fans and newly interested viewers that new movies were going to be released and that they were all building up to something bigger.

The filmmakers' dedication to creating faithful and high-quality movies is another significant marketing point. It helps raise consumer confidence in subsequent products. All four of the previous Avengers-related movies are rated above 74 percent on the popular Rotten Tomatoes website, with the first Iron Man rated an impressive 94 percent. The expectations for The Avengers are extremely high as a result, which will no doubt cause a flood of fans racing to the cinema.

Another element of this marketing strategy worth noting is the creation of five separate movie franchises that can run concurrently with each other. Iron Man has already had a highly-rated second installment, and a third is in the works. A sequel to The Avengers is of course already planned, and follow-ups to Captain America and Hulk are also quite possible.

Creating five high-quality movie series that work together to tell a complete story is another great, innovative marketing tactic that borrows from the narrative structure and publishing strategy of the comic books themselves. With the exception of Edward Norton as the Hulk, the actors who played the characters in the previous movies will all return, insuring a strong sense of character continuity. Storyline's begun in previous movies will be explored in other installments with and interaction between the franchises' lead characters. This continuity and interaction both establishes each movie series' independent strength, and lends to the stability and draw of the collective Avengers franchise.

Creating buzz, confidence, and continuity are three cornerstones successful marketing. This type of film making not only makes for high-quality storytelling, but also creates a huge stir and buzz for each new film. The past decade has seen a major shift toward ongoing movie franchises rather than one-off blockbusters. The Avengers takes this approach to a new level and may well set the tone for the next decade of mainstream movies.
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