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‘Twilight’ manages global buzz

Promoters use fans to pump brand

When “Twilight” franchise fans are involved, a world premiere is more than just a red carpet and stars. It’s a chance for promoters to build global buzz.

Summit Entertainment and event producer Chad Hudson took over the plaza at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles the weekend before the Nov. 14, premiere. They expected fans to camp out ahead of time — but not the more than 1,100 who pitched tents and sleeping bags.

Hudson took the deluge in stride: “We knew the campers were coming, and we embraced them,” he says.

An urban campground had been built on the L.A. Live Plaza and adjacent street, and a weekend of activities had been planned, from outdoor screenings of earlier “Twilight” pics, and perfs by soundtrack artists. Campers received free breakfasts and snacks, and free autographed “Twilight” books (five had premiere tickets hidden inside for lucky fans).

On the morning of the premiere, the Twihards were given wristbands so they could populate the outsized red carpet and stadium-sized bleachers, and fill the Nokia Theater balcony inside.

Yahoo Movies partnered with Summit and Hudson in the weekend-long promotion, synchronizing all aspects of the preem and events leading up to it. Yahoo sponsored a “Twilight” premiere contest, which more than 100,000 fans entered via a dedicated Facebook page, and logged more than 265,000 Facebook interactions via the site. Yahoo also carried a live stream of the red carpet action.

“We’re bridging the gap between awareness, excitement and action, driving activity that fans can share with friends,” explains Yahoo vice president of entertainment Sibyl Goldman. Exclusive content was created at the preem, now packaged as clips on the website, further raising awareness aimed at generating online ticket sales for the movie.

Yahoo provided free wi-fi to the campers, who further expanded the “Twilight” hype via social networks and other Internet tools. With the tent city drawing extensive media coverage, it provided an excellent buzz flashpoint for the film. As a cross-platform, multimedia event, the previous “Twilight: Eclipse” premiere created more than 3 million media impressions. “Breaking Dawn” should exceed that, says Hudson, although final numbers were not available.

Still, it’s the kind of promotion that’s not likely to be duplicated — at least until next November at L.A. Live, when the fifth “Twilight” installment is skedded to premiere. n

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