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Marketing Plan By Nicole Moy Spring 2014 FTV 419

TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary

PHASE ONE: OVERVIEW Synopsis Positioning Statement Genre, Rating, Tagline Target Audience Marketing The Big Idea

PHASE TWO: FILM FESTIVAL STRATEGY Target Festivals & Rationale Marketing Activities Festival Kit

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 13 14

PHASE THREE: BUSINESS-2-BUSINESS STRATEGY 15 Screenings Research Public Relations Activities Target Distributors

17 18


PHASE FOUR: CONSUMER STRATEGY Release Strategy Release Date Release Pattern Competitive Enviornment Creative Advertising Strategy Material List Media Strategy Market Research Media Plan Publicity Strategy Appearances & Playdates Promotional Strategy Promotional Partners Internet Strategy Online Advertising Social Media Marketing

21 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Death is inevitable. We can’t escape it. We can’t prevent it. So why aren’t we prepared to deal with it? How humans cope with grief varies from person to person. Some need time, others support. But when it comes to children, how do we know their understanding of death? “Alone in the Dust” tackles this kind of grief through the eyes of a child. When Tyler loses his father to suicide, he is lost in a world that was once familiar. After distancing himself from his mother and serving as the outcast at school, Tyler confides in his imaginary friend Izzi, who he wants to believe is the perfect friend. The character of Izzi serves as Tyler’s inner desire for company and to belong. But Tyler later realizes that through Izzi’s appearances, he must learn how to stand up for himself, especial y in times of vulnerability. Children all around the country struggle to cope with the death of parents or family members. It is this imagination that makes it hard for adults to understand how to comfort a grieving child. Through the release of “Alone in the Dust” we not only hope to sell tickets, but also create awareness about the difficulty that children may have when dealing with death. Our partnership with an organization that deals with children and grieving wil hopefully encourage parents to become proactive in their child’s life if he or she is sadly struggling with this concept.


Phase One:

Overview 2

Synopsis “Alone In The Dust” captures a story about a boy who is coping with his father’s suicide. The loss of this relationship has rendered Tyler, 11, voiceless, turning to the company of an imaginary friend who doesn’t turn out to be the best friend he imagined. Throughout the film, Tyler deals with isolation and loneliness and discovers that life’s greatest challenges cannot be conquered alone.

Positioning Statement


This dramatic thirl er is set in a small town on the fringes of society, where comfortable life is a privilege and justice does not always prevail. Through coping with his loss, Tyler learns that isolation can foster powerful creativity and imagination. However, it often comes at the price of loneliness. “Alone In The Dust” is an emotional short film that explores the importance of friends and family in the life of a child.





Tagline Imagination is no substitube for Friendship. 4

Target Audience Primary Adults AUDIENCE


With a serious action sequence, this movie is anticipated to have an R rating. Young adults are a perfect audience to express feelings about lonliness, imagination, and family.

People dealing with:




A good movie choice, for working professionsals in this age range, becasue they can unwind while watching a movie that bring them back to the meaning of a family.





Most everyone in our age groups are sadly old enough to have experienced the death of a loved one. They may have had the AUDIENCE same experiences and connect with Tyler, the boy struggling to deal with his father’s suicide. There is a certain release that comes with the resolution of the movie to allow viewers to live with a more optomistic view.

-Applicable theme of coming of age, learning about oneself, and dealing with loss -Large support from small communities like Boron, the town they filmed in. -Features of the geography of location -Child actors hold lead roles with exceptional performances


Marketing obstacles:

-Child actors working with a dark script -Small community fan base means less word of mouth marketing -Although applicable, the coming of age theme may seem repetitive in film repertoire


The Big Idea:

It is inevitable that in each of our lives, we will be faced with death. The timing and means of death are unknown, and to a child, strange and unfamiliar. “Alone in the Dust” examines just how the suicide of a father affects the world of his son. The big idea behind this marketing plan is to distribute and advertise the release of “Alone in the Dust” by capitalizing on it’s marketing opportunities and promoting the real emotion that makes this film unique. Not only do we want to attract people to the release, we also want to expose them to the real struggles of children who cope with loneliness through imagination. This will help connect and support those who may have experience with this issue, and may serve as a source of encouragement for those who can relate.


“where is everyone? “...

...“We don’t need anyone else.”





Film Festival STRATEGY OVERVIEW The objective for the Film Festival Kit is to promote “Alone in the Dust” at each of the proposed film festivals. This kit wil inform studios and film communities about the movie and prepare them for it’s upcoming limited platform release. At the festivals, we are prepared to meet with audiences of the film or potential partners to collaborate creatively and answer any questions they may have. We hope to connect with individuals who wil help advocate for “Alone in the Dust” and promote its theme of relationships and adolescent development.




OCTOBER 15 - 19, 2014

SEPTEMBER 4 - 14, 2014

The 12th annual Tallgrass Film Festival will take place Cctober 15th- 19th in Wichita, Kansas. With nearly 190 films and over 12,000 attendees, the Tallgrass Film Festival prides itself on being a top-notch program while being named top ten in best-under-the-radar-film festivals in america. This is a perfect outlet for “alone in the dust” because of it’s location in Kansas, a more rural, midwest state. By screening the film here, there wil be more opportunity for a bigger following from a rural community, like the one featured in the film.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the most prestigious international film festivals today. It attracts many high-proFIle stars and has an impeccable list of Oscar nominated premieres. TIFF is appropriate for the premiere of “Alone in the Dust” because many successful films that have come out of TIFF have similar, powerful stories that intrigue viewers and draw support. As a festival located in Canada, TIFF will allow coverage from major print media outlets throughout North America, providing even more press for the fllm.

January 22- February 1, 2015

APRIL 22 - 29, 2015

The Sundance Film Festival has become the largest independent Film festival in America, and will provide a solid platform to boost target audience awareness and traction. Sundance is made up of competitive categories for American and international dramas, documentary films, as well as both feature length and short films. It has also served as a launch pad for popular movies such as “The Blair Witch Project,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “500 Days of Summer.”

Hosted on the West Coast, near the shores of the PacifIc Ocean, is the Newport Beach Film Festival. This festival attracts over 53,000 attendees and screening over 300 FIlms in eight days. With its proximity to Hollywood and Los Angeles, the Newport Beach Film Festival is a great location to be FIlled with prestegious guests. through its growing interest and familiar location, NBFF is a great option for a festival premiere.


MARKETING ACTIVITES FESTIVAL PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVERTISING We wil use a blend of traditional and new media to advertise the film at festivals. To have success during the season of festivals, we must plan ahead. Months prior to the festivals, we will make a Facebook page and twitter account for the film. This wil allow fans to stay updated with the post-production process as well as join us through virtual updates at each of our festivals. During the festivals, at least two of our actors will be available at each screening to answer questions or just meet the audience. Although out actors are children and do not have and recognition, having them at the screenings wil help develop a familiar image for our a udience. We will also arrange a soft media presence to allow interviews with actors or crew. Along with these activities, we wil also place the traditional billboards, flyers, and posters around the festival and in nearby hotels and restaurants. Each of these posters will have the title, screening location and time, and consistent artwork to remind people to attend our screening.

Guerilla marketing


With the hundreds of films screened and premiered at each of the festivals, there needs to be something that sets “Alone in the Dust” apart from the others. To start, the only image that will promote the movie is the key art from the movie poster. These print ads wil be strategically placed throughout the festival and surrounding hotels at which guests may stay. To stand out from traditional marketing, we will be passing out and leaving knight chess pieces, around town and the festival. In the movie, the knight symbolizes Tyler’s new life of relationships, as it is given to him by his Mom. Attached to these pieces is a note with the title “Alone in the Dust” and the time and location of the screening, along with the film’s release. The significance of the chess piece ties into film and is a familiar image that audiences will remember and react to in the film.

FESTIVAL KIT ALONE IN THE DUST Josh Walker Producer (312) 977- 1238

ALONE IN THE DUST Nicole Moy Director of Marketing (847) 804- 4422






DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY The strategy for any distribution company is to get people talking about the film, months before it’s premiere. “Alone in the Dust” needs a distribution company willing to take its marketing tactics to the next level. Fox Searchlight, Focus Features, and TriStar Picture Films are all viable subsidiaries who would distribute the film successfully, similarly to their previous releases. Constant communication with each of these studios will allow our vision of “Alone in the Dust” to be projected to millions around the world. With moving graphics, convincing ads, and a multitude of familiar images, “Alone in the Dust” will be the most anticipated film of the year.


SCREENINGS To kick start the movie premiere, “Alone in the Dust” wil be screened at the prestigious Folino Theatre at Chapman University’s Marion Knott Studios. Chapman University is the alma mater of Producer, Josh Walker, as well as the rest of the film’s crew. There will also be an exclusive question and answer session following the screening. As a way of giving back to the community, who were very welcoming as we filmed, there wil also be a screening at Skyline Drive-in Theater in Barstow, California. The Skyline Drive in Theater is located about 40 miles east of Boron, California, the location the movie was filmed at. This is one of Boron’s closest theaters, hopefully attracting the residents of Boron as well as people in neighboring towns. This screening wil celebrate the production of the film as well as gaining a dependable following.




Producer Josh Walker and Boron High school Principal Nat Adams and Superintendent Trevor Wal ker

RESEARCH Evidently, the purpose of these festivals is to get our film picked up by a major studio and distributor. To do this, we must show potential buyers that our movie will lead to their success. We wil hold test screenings to determine how the audience feels about the movie. If the results of the screening come back as we hope, we wil be able to use these statistics to strengthen the pitch and prospective success of the film. Not only are we conducting research to determine the interest of the audience, we are also researching the different distribution studios that may be interested in buying our film. Finding the right company to distribute the film is important because they must have the same values and objectives as us, the production company. We believe a strong relationship with our studio wil translate into a strong presence at the box office.

PUBLIC RELATIONS ACTIVITIES When developing public relations and advertising activities for business-to-business marketing, the strategy changes. Instead of creating a plan that makes people desire to see the movie, we are creating a plan to convince the distributor that our film is worth their time and wil result as a positive return. We will pitch our distributors in a similar fashion as the festival pitch. A kit will include a pitch letter, crew and cast bios, and any key art we already have developed. This packet will explain the film and show them the prospective success we believe the movie wil have. By viewing our kit, we will highlight our marketing opportunities and discuss how to build positively on our obstacles. Through our persuasion, studios wil be convinced and excited to distribute our film.



Focus Features-


Fox Searchlight Pictures Distribution-

As a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures specializes in independent and foreign films with drama, horror, or comedy as genres. While it’s parent company, 20th Century Fox, focuses on the distribution of major, blockbuster films, Fox Searchlight deals with films from smaller production companies or and smaller budgets. And although these films may have less potential to become a hit, Searchlight has proved this notion wrong with hits like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “500 Days of Summer”. “Alone in the Dust” mimics themes similar to movies previously distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. The dramatic aspect of the coming-of-age theme and learning about the facets of human kind connect this film with “Little Miss Sunshine”, an R-rated drama successfully distributed by Searchlight in the past. With similar marketing opportunities, Fox Searchlight Pictures will successfully launch “Alone in the Dust” and create much anticipation nearing the premiere.

With recent success through the distribution of Academy Award Winning, “Dallas Buyers Club”, Focus Features has gotten a boost of confidence and a deeper resume. As a subsidiary of Universal Studios, Focus Features serves as their main producer and distributor for its own films. Focus Features has seen success and failure as a result of their distribution strategies, but over time, have remained consistently profitable. This is a result of the company’s international distribution, boosting sales and collecting revenue from countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK. With wide audiences and recent success, Focus Features is a great and viable option for the distribution of “Alone in the Dust”.

TriStar Pictures films-

As a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, TriStar Pictures has made a name for themselves after being clumped with Columbia Pictures. They distribute products for the Sony’s Tristar Pictures and are linked with recent success in the hit “God’s Not Dead”. As part of the “big six” studios, Sony TriStar Films must keep up with the evolving world of production and distribution. The success of “God’s Not Dead” has created a great lead-in for the distribution of “Alone in the Dust”. With similar dark themes of death and adolescence, “Alone in the Dust” wil attract similar audiences, leading to a hopeful similar premiere.

“Will you be my friend?”





OVERALL STRATEGY As reflected by successful movies in history, the most effective way to increase ticket sales is to create a connection with audience so they feel compelled to buy a ticket. The overall goal of the consumer strategy is to fil as many seats possible on opening weekend. We want to communicate with our audiences, people 18-40, and promote the film through traditional and non-traditional means. The success of the film depends on how many people attend opening weekend which directly correlated with the effectiveness of the consumer marketing strategy before the movie releases. We will work proactively with our distribution company to ensure a positive opening weekend.


RELEASE STRATEGY Many major movies are releasing this summer and early fall, making it difficult to determine a profitable release date. Because of its proximity to Labor Day, August 22 will be a great opening weekend because it leaves opportunity for an increase in views during the holiday weekend.

RELEASE DATE “Alone in the Dust” will be released on Friday, August 22, 2015


RELEASE PATTERN “Alone in the Dust” will open through a limited platform release starting in 24 select cities with one or more screens in each. The cities will include rural and urban settings to expose as much or our target market. Depending on the success on opening weekend, we may then increase showings by four screens in each city each week following for two weeks.

COMPETITIVE ENVIORNMENT Since the summertime holds spots for many tentpole movies, “Alone in the Dust” needs to separate itself and counter-program the action-fil ed, blockbuster schedule. With highly anticipated movies like “The Expendables 3” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” premiering in early August, a late August release date would allow movie-goers a break from these action-packed, intense scenes.

The following movies wil compete directly with “Alone in the Dust”, all opening August 22:

“If I Stay” - Drama

“Sin City: A Dame to Kil For” - Action

“If I Stay” has a similar vibe and pattern to Alone in the Dust. The story about come-of-age and learning who one is, is a reoccurring theme within inspirational films. This aspect would cause some competition between the films on opening weekend. If I Stay, a movie based on a novel, also has a romantic dimension to the story. This may turn away males or those looking for a more mature movie option.

As an action, adventure movie, “Sin City: A Dame to Kil For”, wil attract a whole different audience than that of Alone in the Dust. Since this is the second in its series, this movie already has a strong fan base, not taking the audience from those who might watch a dramatic movie with less violence and a simpler story line.

“When the Game Stands Tall” - Drama When the Game Stands Tall is also an inspirational drama, which makes this opening weekend look a bit overcrowded. But although inspirational, it appeals to a more male-dominated demographic because its football plot. Also based on a book and is a true story, When the Game Stands Tall is the movie that gives Alone in the Dust the biggest run for their money.


CREATIVE ADVERTISING STRATEGY The purpose for our creative advertising is to accompany the title and name of “Alone in the Dust” with a constant image. Through our advertising materials and the consistency of posts and images, we can stimulate conversation about the film. Although these specific art materials may not be enough to entice one to see “Alone in the Dust”, the buzz resulting from these materials is just as valuable. Even though word of mouth can’t be measured or enforced, it has shown to become a very important asset when marketing a movie. The purpose of these physical materials is not for people to see and decide to watch. Instead, these materials serve as a seed that is planted in the minds of the audience and is hopefully spread through their circles of influence.



-Teaser -Movie Trailer -Bil boards -Print Ads, newspaper and magazine -Buses -Online banner ads -Trailers for radio

You’reLet’snottalk.alone IN TheATERS AUGUST 22



MEDIA STRATEGY Throughout our campaign, contact with the media is essential. With a movie with a small budget, we need to leverage as much media coverage as possible to make up for our shortage of paid advertisements. With appropriate media coverage, we wil be able to inform a variety of audiences over the different media channels about the release of “Alone in the Dust”.



In order to determine the best way to market “Alone in the Dust”, we need to understand how the movie is perceived through unbiased opinions. Through private screenings for our select audiences, follow-up surveys, and focus groups, we wil be able to determine the film’s strongest, most marketable aspects and use it to build promotional materials such as trailers and taglines. Surveys wil determine who our film specifically targets by asking questions about interest in the film before they screened it and how they felt about it after. This will give the marketing team a starting point when deciding what angle of the movie to approach our audiences with. This research wil be conducted about nine months before the release date so we can specifically design ads and promotions catered to those who we are targeting. By holding these test screenings we will be able to strategically design and place ads, just the way people want to see them.



Print - We will place full, half, and quarter page ads in major newspapers from areas where the film will be released. since print ad space can be expensive, we will strategically place eighth- to quarter-page ads in local newspapers for the five weeks leading up to the release. On the final week prior to the release, we will put forth the full-page ad. We will pitch stories to popular magazines such as InStyle and Time, where our target audiences are most likely to read. These tures could vary from an interview with the actors or even just an advertisement spot.

But first also fea-

TV - Claiming spots on the air can be difficult and expensive to purchase to run a trailer, but also can be very effective if strategically placed properly. We will purchase spots over various channels, and will strategically place them during shows with a similar target market. Shows like ABC’s new hit show Scandal or CBS’s successful show Under The Dome, who attract similar audiences of adults ages 25-50. Radio - In today’s advancing times of technology, we are often attracted to the newer ways of media and internet relations. But with a target market of adults, we must not forget about radio spots and air time. We will purchase radio spots where we will run the a version of our trailer. TV Trailer Week 1 6/6 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Opening Weekend

Radio Trailer

Print - Newspaper

Print- Magazine

Today Show



News stations


PUBLICITY STRATEGY Publicity is a great way to get the news out about the release of the film because not only is it effective, it can also be free. With the help from media sources, we will get the news out about the release of the film. The effects of positive media coverage are noticeable almost instantly. Once a reliable news source covers a story, it becomes popular public information, ready to be spread from person to person. As the source, we need to give people something to talk about. Through physical materials and cast engagements, “Alone in the Dust� will be on the minds of every movie-goer this fall.

APPEARANCES AND PLAYDATES After talking with their publicists, we will schedule the actors talk show spots to promote the premiere of the movie. These guest appearances will occur a week or two before the release of the movie to inform and excite viewers of the upcoming movie. Some shows to schedule would be The Today Show, The Ellen Show, and Katie because the demographic of their viewers fit parts of our target market and wil help ensure the maximum amount of viewers. With a platform release, the film will be showed in a limited number of cities. We will also schedule our main actors media interviews with the local news stations to be featured on their entertainment segments. Having an actor representing the film on the news is important because anyone watches the news, hopefully encouraging others outside of our target market to check the movie out.


PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY Promotion is one of the four P’s in the marketing mix. It deals with raising customer awareness, sales, and creating brand loyalty. This brand loyalty is the relationship between the potential audience and the film. Strengthening this relationship will result in an increase in sales and awareness through work of mouth. We will use promotions such as national partnerships to support organizations with similar themes of “Alone in the Dust”.

PROMOTIONAL PARTNERS “Alone in the Dust” would like to partner with The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children & Families. Through this partnership, we will support the national center both monetarily and through service. As part of our promotional campaign, our actors and crew will visit The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon and meet with people of all ages and hopefully take their minds off grieving. As we release the film, we will also invite adults in the center to screen the film. This film’s powerful theme of adolescence and grief and the journey it takes to be relieved may hopefully serve as inspiration for some. Grief is a sensitive subject, especial y when it comes to children. But we would also like to highlight that the partnership with The Dougy Center will also bring us philanthropic publicity. This increase in publicity wil not only have more mouths talking, but wil also hopefully reach those who can benefit from seeing this film.


INTERNET STRATEGY With a majority of the world on some type of social network or media site, it is only appropriate to advertise with full use of the internet. Our primary target market of adults ages 31-50 and secondary market of young adults ages 19-30 are perfect for this kind of advertising. In some cases, Internet Marketing is free, and Alone in the Dust will fully capitalize on that offer.

ONLINE ADVERTISING We wil buy some advertisement space in various online sites such as YouTube, movie websites, and video streaming sites. Our trailer will be featured as an advertisement before YouTube clips a starting one month before the release. We will design and purchase website banners to be featured on any website, more specifically websites that promote movie-going.


SOCIAL MARKETING Facebook - A page wil be made for “Alone in the Dust”

and will highlight recent updates from new trailers to guest appearances. This is a free way to recruit fans and inform the public about the upcoming film they won’t want to miss.


- Along with the Facebook page, a twitter account wil be created on behalf of the film to also update followers about similar news. This wil differ from the Facebook because it wil give a live account of the film with shorter, more creative posts. The use of this profile is also a free way to spread information quickly through retweets and shares. Twitter also has recently provided paid advertisements known as “promoted tweets”. With the purchase of these tweets, “Alone in the Dust” wil be featured at the top of many people’s twitter feed.

YouTube - Our Youtube account wil deliver behind the

scenes access to fans who are interested in the cast, crew, or how the film was made. It wil also feature different variations of trailers along with the album, Hunger and Thirst by independent rock band Typhoon, from the movie’s soundtrack.