15 strategies for box-office success

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7. Know your audience
“We were really lucky to have a film that lots of people wanted to watch. Marketing is important but if you don’t have the right product then it doesn’t matter what your marketing strategy is.”

Vaiaoga-Ioasa focused his efforts on Pacific/Polynesian communities. As much as Three Wise Cousins is a Samoan film, it appealed to a wider Pacific community because the central premise and depiction of Samoa resonated with all Pacific peoples.

“Some industry people have asked me ‘Do you guys realise what you’ve done?. For a long time it didn’t occur to us how big it was. Literally I’m stuck here in my home in Avondale trying to distribute the film around the world. I was so hunkered down I didn’t get a chance to really take it all in and appreciate it.”

Vaiaoga-Ioasa won the hearts and minds of his audience by crafting a story for the entire Polynesian culture. Since Polynesians are mainly spread across NZ, Australia, the USA and American Samoa, Vaiaoga-Ioasa made it his duty to bring the film to them.

8. Test the waters with your trailer
Three Wise Cousins posted its first-look trailer just after the photoshoot, still in March 2015, nine months away from the film’s premiere. Vaiaoga-Ioasa wanted to gauge audience reaction to make sure they were on the right track.

Vaiaoga-Ioasa said, “The trailer is the truly convincing point. Sometimes you might be worried that you’ll reveal all the plot points of the movie. But you have to find a way [to make a trailer] because you never hear people say, “That movie was way better than the trailer suggested”.

The trailer spread without any further posts or marketing. By December last year (still before the premiere) it had been watched 300,000 times. Sharing more than many marketers might, Vaiaoga-Ioasa acknowledged that those who’s watched the trailer (which played automatically) from start to finish was closer to half that number. 

The final part of this article will publish in our November edition

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