Nominations bring award contenders into focus

The morning of the Golden Globes nominations is major marker during awards season, an event that brings into focus which films have traction and which have not.

For some films, earning a nom is either renewed hope for awards glory and a box office boost, or in other cases simply another step in a larger marketing plan that’s been in the works for months. For those not making the list, it can be a reality check that it may be time to shake up their marketing plans, but it also may be too late in the game for much to be changed.

The biggest advantage of the Golden Globes is their popularity, which makes them effective in helping to build momentum at the box office as well as in the longrunning awards race.

“If we do get momentum from the Golden Globes, then we can make the decision to step up our release plans and go faster,” says Nancy Utley, co-prexy of Fox Searchlight.

Most studios are prepared well in advance for any Globe noms to come their way. As soon as the noms are announced in early ayem hours, the studios are ready to send out digital ads online and print ads the following day.

“You can feel when a movie has momentum,” says Utley. “We’ll add more screens or more ad support, so we can get people to go in that momentum.”

The noms, announced Dec. 15, arrive just before the holiday moviegoing period. With millions of folks on vacation part or all of the last two weeks of the air, box office gets a nice boost from the noms.

Not getting nominated in the top drama film category is obviously a letdown, but studios have those contigency plans in place as well.

“If that doesn’t happen, you capitalize on what you do get,” says Utley. “In some cases, you may not expand (in more theaters) right away, you may wait for Oscar nominations.”

Comedies, however, often have a much better chance at a Globes nod, and understand Oscar is likely out of reach. For those studios, their marketing campaigns are very Golden Globes-specific and reach out to Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voters via screenings and press conferences.

“The Golden Globes have more categories than the Oscars, so there are lots of opportunities for hopefuls to gain traction,” says Robert Marich, author of “Marketing for Moviegoers.” “The Globes are low-hanging fruit — easy pickings that let the awards consultants say, ‘Hey, we did our job because you are nominated.'”

Much is made of the connection between receiving a Golden Globes nom and/or win and being recognized at the Oscars, but from a marketing perspective the awards are very different.

“It’s two different voting bodies, so they don’t really correlate,” says Utley.

Changing course on a major marketing plan is sometimes difficult to do midstream, but at times failing to get an expected nom at the Globes can be a sign that it must be done.

And in other instances, being left out of the Globes can effectively kill a film’s awards chances and leave it open to the wrong kind of publicity.

“You can end up in a bunch of stories about who missed out, about who snubbed,” says Utley. “That can put kind of a stink on a movie that you have to battle back from.”

Marich agrees: “If talent or a film isn’t nominated in the Globes, voters for other awards have to wonder if snubbed films and talent are really worthy. The candidates know this, so they don’t want to be conspicuous by their absence.”

Lastly, there are always lessons to be learned from not getting a nom that can be beneficial for a film. Utley says such scenarios may reveal a campaign isn’t working and give marketers a chance to reverse strategy.

“It could be a different ad approach, different quotes you’re using in the marketing or finding another way of talking about the movie,” Utley explains.

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