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Week 6 – Cross-Platform Marketing
Sarah Wharton – [email protected]
What is cross-platform marketing?
How does it differ from conventional ideas of marketing?
Why use cross-platform marketing?
Case study: The Blair Witch Project.
Case study: Donnie Darko and the interactive website.
Case study: The BT Family.
Seminar info.
By the end of the session, learners will be able to:
o Identify what a cross-platform marketing campaign is.
o Identify how a cross-platform campaign is different to more
traditional marketing methods.
o Identify examples of cross-platform marketing campaigns.
 Marketing
of a product
or service across a
variety of media
platforms rather than
just (but also including)
the traditional outlets
such as print and TV
 What
outlets are used
(to name but a few)?
o TV
o Print
o Websites (often
Social networking
Viral media (e.g.
YouTube videos)
Internet forums
 Encourages
interactivity and
engagement rather
than passively
watching/reading an
 Feels more akin to
entertainment than
More direct engagement with
Wider saturation of message.
Can be cheaper if using it
instead of traditional
marketing channels.
Target audience spreads
message themselves.
Enables use of more creative,
subtle marketing techniques.
For niche products, enables a
direct engagement with
fans/target demographic that
would be unreachable via
mainstream channels.
Year: 1999
Directors: Daniel Myrick &
Eduardo Sánchez
 Early
example of
successful crossplatform marketing.
 Low-budget ($30,000$60,000) horror film
that made $140.5
million in US alone.
 Utilised a viral or
mischief marketing
Based on the premise that the film events were real.
 No interviews from film’s stars as they were supposedly
 Use of documentary and websites (which existed a year
prior to release) to promote the film as an event.
 Word-of-mouth campaign.
 Pirate copies of the film “leaked” online.
 Buzz created through people’s confusion over whether
or not events were real.
The Blair Witch Website
o Official site promoting the
film as real events.
o Followed by amateur
fansites also made by the
Curse of the Blair Witch
o Sci-Fi Channel
“documentary” purporting
the film as real.
o Available as an extra
feature on the film’s DVD
(available in SJL).
BWP successfully used
cross-platform marketing
to make a cheap,
effective campaign.
 Since the campaign
hinged on hoodwinking
people, the crossplatform model was
more “realistic” than a
traditional movie
marketing campaign.
Year: 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
 Low
budget ($4.5
million) psychological
thriller/sci-fi film with a
cult following.
 Used more traditional
methods with the
addition of a highly
interactive website.
____donnie darko____
o Official site for the film.
o Highly interactive.
o Provides a transmedia
o Relies on users having
seen the film, but its
complexity encourages
them to see it again by
renting or purchasing it on
• Useful guide to navigating
the site here.
Site is akin to a game where
users search for clues for
passwords in order to enter the
next level.
Site gives users additional info
on characters and storylines and
films in plotholes.
o E.g. what happens to Patrick
Swayze’s paedophile character if
Donnie doesn’t go back in time?
Site explains further the
complicated theories of timetravel expounded in the film’s
Site extends the audiences
experience of the film and gives
them reasons to re-watch it.
Cross-platform marketing here helps create a cult film out
of one that had little-to-no theatrical success (Donnie Darko
barely broke even in its US theatrical run).
By enabling the audience to “investigate” the film’s content
and themes it extends the experience and creates a repeat
By using a website to do this it creates something that is
accessible to almost everyone (unlike, for example, a video
Communications service
Cross-platform campaign
advertising British Telecom
products and services using
TV ads, a website and social
networking (Facebook).
Follows the relationship of
Adam and Jane (plus her 2
kids) from meeting to
Follows similar line to the
Nescafe Gold Blend ads from
1980s, catching an audience
through the “soap” storyline.
The BT Family allowed
viewers to vote via Facebook
on whether or not Jane would
fall pregnant (1.6 million
This was extended to allow
viewers to vote on the
wedding dress, wedding car
and 1st dance song (480,000
o For full statistics, see this
Competition was also run for
people to win parts as extras
in the wedding ad.
Set up BT as a service
designed to help modern
families communicate.
Shows BT as a company “in
tune” with modern family life.
Voting process shows BT as a
company that listens to its
Encourages potential
customers to actively engage
with the brand, thereby
making them more likely to
remember them when
changing their
phone/internet/TV provider.
Cross-platform marketing can be cost-effective.
It encourages active engagement from
This active engagement makes people increasingly likely to
remember/buy/consume the product/brand.
Key readings:
o Gray, Jonathon (2010) Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and
Other Media Paratexts, New York: New York University Press
(Chapter 2)
o Cherry, Brigid (2010) ‘Stalking the Web: Celebration, Chat, and
Horror film Marketing on the Internet’ in Conrich, Ian (ed.) Horror
Zone, New York: I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, pp67 – 85.
We will be deconstructing a cross-platform marketing
campaign in groups.
You will be given your assignment briefs and deadlines for
Assignment 3.