Fox Searchlight's Brilliant 500 Treats of Summer Promotion
When it comes to indie distributors, no one is better than Fox Searchlight. They really are the Pixar of the indie film world, not only with films they produce and develop, but also with the films they acquire from festivals - they're almost always great. You probably already know that they've got Marc Webb's wonderfully unique romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer due out in July, but earlier today, Searchlight coordinated one of the best promotions I've ever seen. They really know how to market their movies, especially the ones that people are falling in love with, and this 500 Treats of Summer stunt has created some great buzz.
So what exactly is 500 Treats of Summer? At first, I had no clue what it was either, even though I was sent details early from Searchlight. Essentially it was a grassroots word-of-mouth promotion where Searchlight partnered with various vendors in 6 major cities (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC) to spread some summer joy. These partners included vendors (in LA) like Pink's Hot Dogs, Fiji Water, Kogi Korean BBQ, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Red Bull. The promotion involved handing out, to the first 500 people, free goodies and a free promo item from 500 Days of Summer.
So here's where it all starts to make some sense. The promo item (seen to the right) was usually a shirt that said "It's Official… I'm In Love With Summer." Those of you that have already seen 500 Days of Summer know that that is actually a great line from the movie. And if you think about it out of context, it's a great way to just say "I love the summer." The way Searchlight is saying that is by giving out free food. One hell of a treat, eh?! So the promo was just giving away free items to people in 6 cities? That's it? Well, the buzz it created on sites like Twitter and Facebook was immense - people can't stop thinking about 500 Days of Summer now.
I didn't realize how brilliant this was until I was searching Twitter to see what people were saying and discovering all of the locations where these freebies were available talking about it as well. Not only were there random tweets that just said that they stumbled across one of these vendors and were so happy to get free food and swag, but then there were the guys like Dan Madonia who "ate 11 Pinks hot dogs." If only I had found out about this earlier, I would've hit the town and stopped by all 7 of the Los Angeles locations. But it was kind of cool to just sit back and see everyone start buzzing about this without knowing much about it. There's even a great site for mini user reviews: 500dos.net.
Anyone who works in marketing knows that freebie giveaways are always a great way to build huge crowds. But there's a difference between just giving freebies away to the masses and actually getting positive buzz out of it. This is exactly what Fox Searchlight has done today - they've created even more positive 500 Days of Summer buzz because they gave people something to make them extremely happy. And when you put all that together, well, it works wonders, especially for an incredible movie like 500 Days of Summer. Bravo, Fox Searchlight, you've pulled off a great promo that proves again how ahead of the curve you always are.
Reader Feedback - 17 Comments
Wish I went out to get some stuff. Was working, though.
crAziemutant on Jun 21, 2009
kind of sucks that this movie is going to hit big. yeah. I'm one of those guys that hates it when their favorite movie is watched by everyone in the world, and i've been looking forward to this movie for months and months. oh well.
crumb on Jun 21, 2009
ah don't worry man, it'll probably be a hit over time, not instantly, but you'll be able to share that joy with everyone! why want to save the best for yourself, you know?
johnny rico on Jun 21, 2009
Keith on Jun 21, 2009
@crumb your really dumb and immature,
Dude on Jun 22, 2009
@dude (#5) First: You ended an independent clause with a comma. That's a bad move when you're calling someone dumb. Second: I do lots of things that constitute as immature, but I don't think this is one of them. Maybe Elitist, yeah. But not immature. Being immature would be making fun of someone I didn't even know because their view point is different than mine on indie films. Do you like it when a film that has a real message, real substance, not just Hollywood filler, is looked at by thousands of people just as filler because it's all over myspace? Imagine you're the director. Imagine you had a real message you wanted to reach people. But no one can hear the message because of the 'cult status' it accumulated. Which is another way of saying that tons of teenagers like it and it's 'hip' to like. It doesn't need to critically watched: oh no, it's a cult classic. Just watch it and quote it. and don't act like this doesn't happen to films that hit it big.
crumb on Jun 22, 2009
crumb i think you're way overanalyzing the whole situation... every film you love can't stay a cult hit and be beloved only by you, especially if it's as good as it is... sure, "dude" is an idiot for calling you dumb, but you're asking for too much with 500 days of summer!
johnny rico on Jun 22, 2009
@6 First: You're right, if I made a film I wouldn't want a lot of people to see it, despite the fact that the larger audience pool would allow more people to get the message even if the majority of the viewers don't, and the additional buzz and income would increase the probability that I would be able to make more films. Wait, wait, that's not right. That's the other thing. Wrong. You're wrong. Second: You started a new paragraph with a conjunction and didn't even bother to capitalize it. That's a bad move when you're trying to sound intellectual on the internet. Additionally, pretty much everything after "Second:" appears to be written by a fourth grader with hands too meaty to use a keyboard properly.
T Robert T on Jun 22, 2009
I'm looking forward to the movie and really like those t-shirts, seems like a cool promotion overall. Also, there's no need to argue, I'm easily the biggest idiot here 🙂
T Robert T on Jun 22, 2009
I hate living in Kentucky :(, can we buy these shirts online?
Curtis G on Jun 22, 2009
Honestly a lot of films do this kind of marketing...I want something more, something bigger!
LINKFX on Jun 22, 2009
Still waiting for the Summer Promos to hit Phoenix,Arizona.
charmer1 on Jun 22, 2009
I had a great day yesterday driving around from location to location picking up free grub. I had some @KogiBBQ tacos in Westwood and Pink's hot dogs at @TheComedyStore, then for desert I stopped by the Grove for Sprinkles cupcakes and off to Venice for @coolhaus ice cream sammies! 😀 Oh yeah the hotties from Red Bull showed up while were at The Comedy Store.
Horse on Jun 22, 2009
let me check with ebay if it's available or not .
led panel on Jun 23, 2009
I saw this movie yesterday (June 24th) in Denver and I liked it. It was sometimes a bit slow, but not too much either. Although the movie was an indie, it was good that some somewhat famous faces were in the movie to make it a bit more of the "blockbuster" type.
Movie Watcher on Jun 25, 2009
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