Friedman talks marketing at summit

Summit topper touches on hot-button issues in L.A.

In the world of marketing, Hollywood creatives are juggling the need to embrace new and innovative ways to promote pics while still getting the most bang for their buck in traditional marketing venues.

This old vs. new mentality was a running theme on Wednesday, the second day of Variety’s two-day marketing summit at the Universal Hilton.

Summit Entertainment CEO Rob Friedman, who opened the day as keynote speaker, provided insight into the “Twilight” distrib’s traditional marketing and distribution strategies. He also touched on issues such as digital distrib platforms and shortened theatrical windows.”We’re an industry that is cooperative and want to make sure everyone feels comfortable with the process and campaign,” Friedman said, referring to shorter windows and changing film distrib strategies. “On the other hand, I think it’s a valid experiment” for distributors to try fresh approaches to the decades-old model for theatrical releases.

Friedman said marketers have to be conscious of changing trends and marketing schemes such as video-on-demand and online campaigns.

Still, the studio topper pointed to Summit’s “The Hurt Locker” — a particular marketing challenge given the film’s subject matter — as a prime example of a pic that can be marketed on the strength of the work. “We knew that it was going to be an extraordinary challenge, but we had an amazing tool, which was the film itself,” Friedman said.

“Our big focus and mantra was it’s not just a movie about Iraq, it’s about heroes,” he added. “That was our main focus for the movie — trying to tamp down the Iraqi element.”

Even more mainstream fare, such as Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” can be vexing to market. DWA head of worldwide marketing Anne Globe said the toon posed a challenge for tubthumpers given that it was less reliant on the comedic storytelling traditionally found in animated pics.

Globe, who spoke on a panel about innovation for major and indie fare, credited DWA head Jeffrey Katzenberg as the company’s champion for innovative marketing.

“People are always excited to get involved with something new,” Globe said.

To that end, DWA is partnering with Chase Bank for its November release “Megamind” as an unconventional choice for brand placement. Globe said the studio played off Chase’s blue logo. “They’ve been terrific and excited about stepping outside the box,” Globe said. It’s increasingly evident, she added, “that a great idea can come from anywhere.”

Globe said that knowing a slate three years in advance, particularly with animated films, allows the marketing team to get a leg up on idea and campaigns.

The indie market is also getting ahead of the game with its marketing strategies.

In terms of day-and-date VOD releases, Visio Entertainment prexy Dennis Rice said the indie world doesn’t necessarily rely on theatrical releases. “In the independent world, there are a lot of films where you don’t necessarily need a theatrical release to make it financially viable,” Rice said.

The exec’s candid response spoke to the way the biz is moving to support changing consumer habits.

“Supporting the fans has always been a critical issue for us,” Summit’s Friedman said. “Our goal is to grow the audience base, but also to make sure to satisfy the corporate base and reach out to the fans.”

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