Friday, January 18, 2008

Cloverfield: Don’t believe the hype?

This morning, a small section of our office had been debating whether or not Cloverfield is a bad movie with good marketing or a good movie but only if you don’t pay attention to the marketing.

Thanks to Getty Images who furnished my colleagues and I with tickets to watch the screening at VivoCity which I thought was an “awesome” movie – however, my colleagues had far less enthusiasm for it and after a few more “awesomes” from me this morning…I was hardly the most popular man at Lighthouse.

So what is the cause of this polarised opinion? Taking out of consideration that certain genres of movies just don’t appeal to some – I reckon the marketing and the hype the filmmakers attempted to stir prior to its release should take some of the blame.

The colleague, who had the most negative things to say about the movie, was the one in the office who knew the most about the movie, and had seen its viral marketing efforts, and was already raving about the film she hadn’t seen. In short, she was the one who had been infected the heaviest by Cloverfield’s viral marketing game plan which involved the strategic release of two trailers with the first trailer disclosing the release date and not the movie title, and second trailer confirming the title months later.

The appearance of an untitled trailer fuelled media speculation over the film’s plot that generated global hype and in the case of my colleague – led her to put the film on a pedestal just as so many did with the Blair Witch Project where an amazing amount of people within your inner circle of friends passed on the message that you’re about to watch the most scariest show ever… I was pretty disappointed at the end of that show.

This time however, I didn’t buy into the hype and watched Cloverfield without knowing anything about the film except that it was going to be told from the point of view of the protagonist’s video camera and that the statue of liberty’s head gets ripped off – cool I thought to myself.

At the end of the day, the basic success measurement of the marketing will be judge on crowd numbers that watch the film but it will interesting to wait and see what happens when disappointed film-goers start ripping into film via online platforms. Will that make more people want to see the film to judge for themselves or will it deter people from buying a ticket?

If you go to watch the film though, make sure you sit near the back because the shaky camera theme can be nauseating to some.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NEW POST: Firefox viral backfires

Let’s start with a little bit of history: Web (Browser) War I ended with IE’s victory over Netscape - that has since close to vanished.

Then it got a little haughty and a little lazy, sitting on its laurels and no new version from IE appeared for years.

2004, Mozilla roared into the picture. Web (Browser) War II between the victor of Web (Browser) War I and the noob thus started.

Oct 2006 was a significant month for technology.
The unavoidable face-off occurred - IE retaliated and catapulted IE7 and Mozilla blasted out Firefox Ver 2.0.

The IE7 guys as a gesture of goodwill sent over a cake to congratulate Mozilla’s launch.

Since then, according to, Mozilla’s market share rose from 7.82% (Feb 07) to 15.8% (Dec 07) last year. An amazing feat already but IE still reigns with over 75% of the market share.

Now back to the story.

To start of the year with a blast, Mozilla secretly launched a viral Campaign to push Firefox and announced it exclusively on TechCrunch on 7 January around 6am (so much for it being secret and viral) which can be described in a simple equation IE = Boredom - this formula it adopted to snigger at IE and keep its 'I’m Cool and Snazzy' status.

The foolhardy-daredevil planted a website , popped into blog sites, entered Facebook and posted a You-Tube video and decided to use STATISTICS probably with the intention to scare and wow, cos we all know numbers add credibility to any release.

A snippet here from the Tech Cruch article:
" Compared to Internet Explorer users, Firefox users are:
* 21% less likely to be a sales representative or agent at their current place of business.
* 45% more likely to have gone on vacation in San Francisco within the last 2 years.
* 33% less likely to live with others suffering from high cholesterol.
* 6% less likely to have eaten any meal at Chick-fil-A within the last 7 days.
* 24% less likely to live with others suffering from heart disease.
* 66% more likely to have viewed or listened to audio or video about politics or public affairs news within the last 30 day.
* 89% more likely to have purchased database software for work in the last year.
* 38% less likely to live with others suffering from breast cancer. "

And then they probably sat back, patted themselves on the back and waited to see numbers jump and gleefully giggled for page hits.

And hit it did. Hard.

The first wave of Netizens started attacking, incensed and chastising them on their denigration of morals, their insensitivities to real-health issues like heart disease and cancer. One even pulled out Mozilla's mission statement as a case to highlight his disappointment with the developer.

Paul Kim, Mozilla’s VP of marketing probably pulled the plug when he entered the office, around 10 am the same morning the campaign rolled out, and started on damage control - Mozilla promptly took down the sites, and Kim personally replied to comments.

Reply 1:
“ This is Paul Kim, VP of marketing for Mozilla. I want to apologize to anyone who was upset or offended by some of the stats on the not yet final website for this campaign. The list Techcrunch referenced was posted without a final review by Mozilla and wasn’t intended to be published as is. We’re working right now to correct this on the site, which goes live in a final form later today.”

Nice… Blame the Press.

Reply 2:
"Zachary: There is no way we would have gone live with a site that mocks cancer victims if there had been a review of these stats beforehand. Something went seriously wrong with our content development process, and I’m working to clean this up now. The site is up now for testing purposes, but should have been kept behind password authentication until we were ready to open it up. Regardless of these issues on our end, the main thing is to say that I take responsibility for the situation, and again, apologize to anyone who was upset by this."

And then he blogged:

Later today didn’t come and the site is still down.

Me wonders what will come out of this,

1. Blame a junior insider for the leak?
2. Blame the Press for jumping the gun?
3. Fire the marketing team that thought of the campaign?
4. Steer clear from Statistics?
5. Steer clear from Viral campaigns?
6. IE folks popping champagne and sending a cake again to Mozilla for a campaign well-done.