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Dec 22, 2008 | Comments

2012 is a typical disaster movie. Today, I saw the trailer in theaters, and it had quite the cliffhanger at the end. The trailer’s call-to-action, however, was different:

Instead of a link to the movie’s micro-site, the trailer’s call-to-action is “Google Search 2012.” This strategy has appeared before in other TV advertisements–people do not memorize URL’s, but remembering to search a keyword is more natural.

Failure 1: 2012 is a common term.

Searching for 2012 queries the following results (pictured below):

The top five natural searches have no relation to the movie. After two pages of searching, I finally found Sony’s desired website in the sponsored links section. It costs Sony for every click on its paid search link (assuming the consumer even notices sponsored results).

Failure 2: No micro-site.

Normally, a custom micro-site is a costly endeavor for marketing campaigns. But for movies, it serves as a place to which people can link. The paid search result is 2012′s “Official Movie Site” on sonypictures.com, with only a trailer and no other content–explaining why there are no natural search results for 2012′s official site. Why not send people to YouTube (currently 800K views of trailer)? The user experience is much richer (voting, comments, related videos).

Failure 3: no online content

That’s right. The trailer’s call-to-action leads to a Sony Pictures page with only a video of the same trailer. Sony did not created any online content (news, synopsis…something to reward me for visiting), yielding a negative net benefit after following all of Sony’s desired steps (they wasted my time).

I’m not sure if this was to create buzz around the predicted apocolypse of 2012 or to measure the efficacy of the trailer using Google search. Either way, this was a lost opportunity to connect with consumers.

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