June 18, 2022 morpheus

On movie marketing in Nollywood

Strategies to spark interest and connect with new audiences

In a recent post by one of the prominent Nigerian movie directors, Niyi Akinmolayan, he posited that “Nollywood is 40% of the Nigerian box-office. Yet we don’t have any marketing outfit dedicated to films. Most films in cinema have marketing spend of no less than 15m. Some get as high as 30-40m. Half of that money is wasted as producers don’t really know what works”

The issue of marketing agencies’ lack of interest or involvement in films is an exciting topic. Our research has shown that most movie producers are tasked with elaborating marketing strategies beyond their core expertise. In the course of their raising funding, some investors will ask if there is an existing audience for the proposed movie and how they plan to win them over at the box office.

The problem we have identified is how producers aim to build a concrete marketing strategy without having a marketer’s mind and to do so quickly enough before their next film shoot begins.

"Nollywood is 40% of the Nigerian box-office. Yet we don’t have any marketing outfit dedicated to films."

Niyi Akinmolayan

At Morpheus Multimedia, with our history in integrated marketing communications and our strong passion for the filmic arts, we recommend that producers use their intuition and focus on managing the logistics, budgets, and personalities to ensure that the film is completed on-time and on-budget.

Back in 2015, in our early years in marketing, we worked with the team at Rightangle Productions on “Oloibiri,” the movie. At that time, it was a learning process for us as we handled the promotion of the feature film from the movie website and graphic designs, press releases (popular press and magazines), TV, radio, and social media campaigns, press junket, and an experiential audience engagement at malls in Lagos and Abuja towards the cinema release which did not happen due to reasons from the client.

For better results, Niche is better, and a niche can be huge if it is well planned and executed.

Now, our approach to marketing for films comprises essentially the activities and strategies used to spark interest and engage and connect with new audiences worldwide. With a better understanding of audiences’ values, attitudes and demeanors, we can leverage behavioural patterns, massive amounts of data, and global audiences to learn, think, make and promote films for an audience.

The first step is to identify existing movies comparable to those being optioned or already in pre-production. What is the genre? What is the visual style? We need to put together at least a list of 5 movies that people can identify in recent years. Now that we have a “library of movies” to put the new script in, we are getting closer to identifying a way to deliver the movie to a specific target market.

Secondly, we must consider who has seen those movies in the library we outlined earlier, especially regarding taste and visual style. We will then personify them and dig deep into their preferences by imagining people we know. At this point, honesty and precision are critical, and it is also essential to avoid the pitfall of trying to cater to too many people unless the movie is towing the mainstream market route. For better results, Niche is better, and a niche can be huge if it is well planned and executed.

Thirdly, we will think about the Strengths and weaknesses of the script (these are internal ‘issues’ linked to the project itself, from the point of view of the audience we have been able to distill). Then we access the market (external facts) and identify the opportunities and threats the movie faces.

What is the Movie about? Can we think of a simple sentence that describes it? Can we place ourselves in the audience’s skin to define that sentence? At this stage, we are not looking at the synopsis or the logline; it is a way to describe the movie’s personality. We try to use the keywords from your strengths and include a “BUT” in that sentence. It will show a conflict that might be a point of engagement for that audience.

All this process can happen simultaneously with pre-production. The important note here is that there might be an opportunity to seed some brands or influencers within the film to leverage their followership and reach towards an opening weekend success.

"What is the Movie about? Can we think of a simple sentence that describes it?"

As we proceed with the production, we also need to plan for distribution. Yes, distribution is part of the marketing mix. Now we will concentrate on thinking about whether we need a classic or an alternative way to grasp and captivate our target audience and who are the players that can help us make this happen. This moment also opens up opportunities for more research, conjoint analysis, and mappings; we will extract as much information as possible from crucial people and industry databases where we will learn enough about the box office industry..

What are the key messages and tools to communicate to the identified target? Can we think of simple ideas to produce during production that can help us connect with them beforehand? Can we think about content that we can prepare for future distributors? It is essential to be specific and original.

Talk to us if all of the above points seem too complicated or you don’t have the time to develop that marketing strategy. We can work with you to create an irresistible movie experience and strategically guide filmmakers to lure the cinema fans back to viewing films, whether in the cinemas or at home.


Fágbèmí Ọ̀ṣìnúgà

Article was first published on my personal website www.enuwodu.com under the title On movie marketing in Nollywood. Kindly share this article with your network if you enjoyed it.

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