Nostalgiabusters: Why the Ghostbusters Teaser Adds Nothing of Value To Its Marketing Campaign

It’s not often that you get your heart broken on Valentine’s Day. When it does happen, it’s something that you tend to never forget.

So why would Sony and Columbia Pictures risk disappointing their fanbase by releasing a teaser for a highly nostalgic film property on Valentine’s Day?

Now, I won’t delve into the strengths and weaknesses of this nostalgic property and how the studio might have ruined the Ghostbusters brand with this remake. I’ll save that in-depth case study once we get closer to the film’s opening weekend in July.

Today, we’re going to focus on the merits of this teaser for the official trailer.

(Yes, apparently brief teasers announcing the release date of the official movie trailer is now a regular thing.)

So what makes this teaser so bad?

First of all, note the lack of any nostalgic elements from the original Ghostbusters movie. No Ecto-One siren blaring off-screen, no ghosts, no imagery that actually connects it to the Ghostbusters universe. Considering that

Considering that this is the first live-action glimpse of the movie that they’ve shown the public, this is the biggest wasted opportunity from the producers and studio so far. They could have dispelled a lot of online resentment with one or two lines of dialogue, or by giving us a tease of the voices of the new Ghostbusting team. 

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Instead, we’re left with what looks like B-roll Transformers military footage editing together and rubber stamped with the Ghostbusters logo at the end.

You could have replaced the teasers tagline of ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ with ‘Dingo’s’ Ate Our Babies?’ and it would not have changed the tone or narrative of the trailer one iota. There would still be soldiers and police driving about, raising guns at some off-screen menace that could be anything from aliens to supervillains to groundhogs.

This could honestly be a sequel to Groundhog Day where Bill Murray leads an army of groundhogs to destroy the Earth.

There was absolutely nothing that teased this was a remake of the Ghostbusters universe – and that continues to scare any fan of the original film. Not showing real footage of your films main actors has always been a sign of a terrible movie.

So why release this teaser on Valentine’s Day?

Probably so fans of the original will know what it’s like to really have their heart broken when they see their childhood continues to get stomped on by a bad marketing campaign. We deserved a look at our new Ghostbusters but now we have to wait until March 3rd.  

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Until then, check out this trailer for the Lego Dimensions Ghostbusters game based on the original movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Google’s Answer to Game of Thrones

The leaves have fallen from the trees and winter is on the way and here I sit at my computer with chills running down my spine.  Not from the cold but from the possibilities that one of Google’s latest announcements could have on the field of marketing and public relations.

Endgame: The Calling is a series of sci-fi novels being written by author James Frey and a project that he has challenged Google’s off-shoot company, Niantic Labs to help turn into a marketing juggernaut.  Their goal is to turn this story about 12 teenagers that compete from around the globe in a high-stakes competition; into the starting point for something amazing.  John Hanke, the head of Niantic Labs, goes on to explain:

Frey’s vision was to do this as a book and game and a movie all together, and to use social media as a way to extend the universe and make it a place where people could really live within the game universe.  He had this whole thing conceived of as a never-before-done experience across all these media.

4-PortalKey-225x400Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 6.22.49 PMTo understand how they could accomplish this we have to look back a few years to Niantic Labs last project, Ingress.  Ingress was created as a real world battle between factions to control portals in cities across the globe.  People chose their faction, met their new community and worked together to go out into the real world to participate in a giant global game unlike any other before it.

So imagine this global game structure used for other marketing campaigns.  Suddenly, CNN could have a real-life political map where voters showed their political pride in real-time during election campaigns; or if this were indeed Game of Thrones, each viewer could participate and claim global territory in the name of the Starks, the Lannisters or even in the name of Hodor himself.

Now we up the ante and take that to the next level.  This is where Endgame comes in, incorporating a physical product (the series of novels or their Lost-inspired website) into the mix.  Suddenly, your participation in the real world event takes on a whole new meaning.  You could influence the future of the stories themselves.  A few flash mobs of support and through community participation an army rises up to support someone the author never intended to be popular and change the lore of the brands universe and story.

Popularity wins and now Hodor takes his place on the Iron Throne in a live performance streamed across the game in real-time; only to have another faction assemble en-masse to try to ruin the event with a  spur of the moment community planned and funded Red Wedding event.  Reality and fiction finally blend together with paid and organic promotional marketing.

And behind the scenes the marketing team watches it all in real time.  They can visually see the communities within their brand, how those communities have formed over time and where they’ll be in the near future.  They can tailor the brands message, create new products that cater to the popular communities and their victories while adjusting future campaigns and plans in real-time.

This is what Endgame and Google hope to accomplish; with movies, novellas and the trilogy of books all working together to give its players competitions for cash prizes of real gold.  A game that could connect billions of potential players with their high-tech devices, allowing them to shape the global game.

So can you see the possibilities that it can be used for in the field of marketing?  I can.  Who needs to wait for Khaleesi’s dragons when you have the strength of Hodor’s community that can band together and take the Iron Throne before she crosses the ocean.  Let your voice be heard and comment below on how you’d use this technology!

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Trick or Treat? Pinterest Knocks on YouTube’s Door Searching for a New Audience

Have you ever used Pinterest to find your ideal Halloween costume?  If not, Pinterest is hoping that this year you’ll change your mind.

With over 176 million Halloween-related pins they have packed up their pins and embarked on a massive Halloween campaign to show the users of YouTube the treasure trove that lurks at Pinterest.   Partnering with Funny or Die, Cracked, eHow to YouTube’s Michelle Phan, Pinterest’s Head of Brand, David Rubin, believes that YouTube is a healthy platform to recruit a bigger audience.

What we’re finding is not only that the content [media companies] create is helpful to us, but Pinterest has grown into being a place where we’re driving lots of traffic and interest back to them.

What makes this interesting is that Pinterest isn’t relying on an outside agency for this campaign.  With minimal spending on paid ads they’re relying on a grassroots-style campaign and the word of mouth garnered by their online partners to spread the word for this campaign.  Now, I love Halloween – it truly is my favourite day of the year.  That is why this campaign piques my interest.  It might be a chance to head back online and add some spookiness to my barren boards.  Plus it has a series of new features that I’d love to check out.

So with Pinterest now standing as the second largest driver of traffic on the internet, will this campaign earn them tricks or will they find the audience to push past Facebook and become #1?  At the very least, you’ll be able to find a great costume to win this years inner-office costume party.  So follow me on Pinterest and share some of your spookiest Halloween pins.

 

Papilliographics: If you could taste the internet, would this post taste like irony?

It seems that technology is advancing to try and capitalize on all five of our senses.  In this article by Lauren O”Neil they talk about a new technological breakthrough that would allow you to taste flavours generated by the device.  While they talk about using this technology to benefit diabetics, by allowing them to taste sugar products, or for people undergoing chemotherapy, to make food taste better, it could have a much further reach into our lives.   By combining this technological advance with our online behaviour, social media experiences and love of brands and consumer goods it opens the door to a myriad of possibilities.

Would this create a new style of programming?  Would blog posts have the ability to add textures and taste to their subject line?  It would bring a whole new meaning to flavour text.  Now while that’s a pretty bad pun, it is also technically true since it would also create a whole new area of public relations study.  I like to call it papilliographics, a study of determining your target audience by their taste breakdowns (sweetness,sourness,saltiness,bitterness and umami).  It could theoretically be a database where computers would calculate the percentages of those five categories modified by the average number of taste bud receptors in a target demographics mouth.  While I won’t bore you with an in-depth analysis of papilliographics (although feel free to contact me), it’s just a taste of what would happen next.

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Suddenly internet sites would be trying to lure people in by the added flavour factors.  Who wouldn’t make it part of their day to visit Cinnabon for that daily taste sensation, especially if you were on a diet.  Imagine the cornucopia of flavours your Twitter feed would become.  How would that change your following habits?  Would the new social mavens be revered for their taste palette as well as their unique style?

Of course the coin has two sides.  Imagine stumbling across new sites on the internet for that random flavour factor – a button clicking game of Russian roulette.  Or when hackers could change an unprotected sites flavour or when you accidentally step into a forum full of trolls and you get that sewer taste of hate and disrespect in your mouth.  How many synthesized coffees would that take to get out?

It would also be a challenge to match companies to the flavours that make them unique.  Especially with a limited palette, like all new technologies have.  Would internet search engines have to be vanilla or would they get daring and go outside the basics?  After all could you imagine the taste of Google Chrome?

It would also be great for companies looking for a cheaper source of brand market research.  Starbucks could field test new flavours and gauge their reaction without having to brew one single cup.  You could taste the menu of your favourite restaurant without leaving your home.  There’d be a whole new type of taste media devoted to this.  Tasteogram anyone?

Then again how long would it take to burn us out completely from wanting to taste things in the internet and in real life?  Make us reluctant to try the unknown, make a dinner that could be burnt or have soggy vegetables, without trying them on our computer first.  

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Perhaps one day when they figure out texture and make it an exact science that might happen.  Companies could stop making real world products to save production costs and focus solely on the online experience.  They could also bring back items that haven’t existed in the marketplace for over fifty years.  Who wouldn’t want to taste that Malted Milk chocolate bar from their childhood.

It’s an interesting concept to think that one day we may be able to “taste” the internet.  It would be the next game changer for the marketing, public relations and advertising industries.  But like all new technology and how its perceived and accepted – until it happens it all comes down to word of mouth.  And with that bad pun I think i’ll end this on a sour note.  

 

Wish in Progress: How San Francisco made @Batkid Triumphant and Made a Nation and World Proud

The basic truth is this:  the Make-A-Wish Foundation has outdone itself once again.  Not just the scope of the event – which as you can see below was groundbreaking.  It is just the simple fact that through the power social media, they managed to create an inspiring campaign that gathered 10,000 volunteers to help make Miles dream come true, while also being watched by the entire world as it happened live.  After all, when the President of the United States takes time out of his day to send Miles a congratulatory video just to add to the glory he felt being Batkid, you know it is a job well done by everyone in San Francisco and at the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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The entire event single-handedly raised the spirits of countless countries, wiping away some of the negativity in both U.S. Politics and up here in Canada.   But to talk about that Toronto topic takes away from the adventures of Miles, the caped kindergartener, so let’s continue on.

With Twitter feeds from the major villains leading up to and during the event, their jibes and banter with the world audience, and with Batkid, fleshed out a personality to equally match their comic book personas.  The world got villains they could despise and that added layer made it more realistic for all involved.

The crowds lined up to show their support while Batkid, escorted by Batman, rescued a damsel in distress.  Without fear he disarmed a Riddler trap to free her from certain doom, before racing away to capture the Riddler at the scene of the real crime.  Then in the afternoon chasing down The Penguin in the Batmobile to rescue Lou Seal, the San Francisco Giants mascot.  Topping it all off was a flash mob singing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing (sorry wish I had a video of the flash mob to attach) while Miles, ahem sorry, Batkid, ate lunch between caped crusades.

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The resilience of this five-year old to accept the mantle of the bat and strive to live up to the ideals of his hero amazes me.

Just as it amazes me the turnout from the world to give one child the best memory of his life.  But in return that child returned the favour tenfold and gave the world an everlasting memory of its own.  That is the true magic of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the magic inside young Miles himself.

Which is why in the end he isn’t just the hero we need, he’s the hero we deserve.  If only more of us showed the stoic courage, spirit and determination to help others as Miles showed the world yesterday.

He deserves this and a lot more.

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Should Social Media Have a Speed Limit?

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In my recent discussions with a variety of PR professionals we have talked about the rise of social media and how it has revolutionized how public relations, media and global communications as a whole.  The speed from which a story can be witnessed, recorded, published online and watched by someone across the globe is spectacular.  Long gone is the 24-hour news cycle.

Just today I got a tweet on my feed from @NASA talking about a live spacewalk that was taking place 354 km above me.  So with a click of a button I was watching an astronaut, well technically a cosmonaut, perform repairs up in space live on my computer screen.  I could hear him communicating with mission control while a NASA announcer guided those listening to the feed through what was going on.  It was captivating that technology has jumped this far in such a short span of time to be able to see, and feel a part of, something like that.

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But has it become too fast?  

With no controls the reputation of a person or business can be destroyed with false information, intentional or not, and a simple click of a button.  Within an hour that video, or mis-tweet,  can go viral and cause emotional, physical or financial damage before the truth can catch up.  

Using events that happened in the news today, I saw online debate on two separate companies who were fending off potential PR disasters due to bad tweets.  

After all, anything that you send out into the internet can never truly be erased.  Delete them all you want but somewhere, somehow, someone has a screenshot or backup of your professional or personal screw-up.  

That in my opinion is the reason why we need to accept a speed limit on social media.  An acceptable right lane where people can coast along in safety while those who dare race ahead and risk crashing in their own personal or corporate blaze of glory.  We, as a global society, need to make sure that speed isn’t of the essence, that patience will persevere and people will take that extra time to make sure accuracy overwhelms being first.

One can dream.

However, while social media is a great tool that can help those whose voices wouldn’t normally be heard, and whose causes need support, it will also attract those who seek to destroy things.  That is the double edged sword of human nature.  Again I have digressed a little from my original subject – it’s late so it tends to happen.

One of my biggest concerns of social media’s growing speed is the simple fact that it makes society more gullible and willing to accept what they read.  This goes hand-in-hand with the damage social media can cause to people and businesses.  We’re so used to breezing through fifty things flying at us through out phones that we latch onto the things that interest us and don’t give a second thought to whether they are true or not.  We’ve been trained to believe in the basic trust that what we’re being told is the truth.  Truth in what we learn in school.  Truth in what we’re told by our parents.  So naturally we see truth in what we read on the internet.

Now you can argue with me on this, that’s your right, but look at the simple fact that there are news organizations whom every day who reprint the faux stories posted on The Onion as real news solely because they see the words and trust them to be correct.  The fact they want to be first in reposting it to their audience overshadows the time they should be taking to make sure what they are printing is correct.  These are professionals who are forced to keep pace with and because of that they end up that driver in the SUV that just blitzed by you going 150 kph on your right side and almost taking off your mirror when they cut you off.

So should social media have a speed limit?  Slide into autopilot and chime into the debate.  After all it truly is an important issue that should be addressed before technology advances to the point where it’s beyond our control.