Is it out yet?

The Challenge: After getting a lot of poor reviews from the third X-Men movie and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox Studios needed to revitalize the franchise while they still have the movie rights. The challenge of this trailer is to entice enough people to come to the new movie (just as it is for any movie trailer) but also to attempt to draw back some viewers they lost with the above mentioned films.

The Idea: How they decided to go about this is obvious. Take the best loved characters from the entire series, and put them into the same movie.  It’s simple, but it works. Not only have they catered to the casual fans whose knowledge of the X-Men consists of what was in the movies, but they are appealing to those fans (like myself) who follow in the comics or with the old cartoons, or with the recent anime versions by including a popular (and in my opinion, grossly overdue) villain.

Execution of the Idea: With this trailer, they show both worlds colliding, and include some of the new characters who we haven’t yet seen in the films.  They balance slower sections, with dialogue giving a brief explanation of the basic plot line with exciting action shots.  They also go back and forth between old and new versions of the popular characters to reinforce that this is a merging of the two timelines.

What Works? The balance of action scenes with exposition scenes expertly sets up the basic premise of the movie. They also ensure to include a quick flash of one of the villains, played by popular actor Peter Dinklage, to draw in some of his fans as well. Overall, they show just enough to look enticing, without falling to the trap that a lot of movie trailers get caught in, showing too much of the great parts of the movie.  You get a definite sense that what you see in the trailer is just a small appetizer for the main course.

What Doesn’t Work?  As far as attracting casual fans, there isn’t anything in the trailer that shouldn’t work. But since they are also targeting established fans of the entire X-Men franchise, while they did provide a glimpse of the villain (and we fans can and do recognize the character) they fail to give even a glimmer of the main villain.  Had they provided even a small, not even a full second of footage of The Sentinels, they would have caused a flood of nerdgasms across the internet.

Grade:  Overall, this trailer does its job.  I for one can’t wait for the movie to be released.  That being said, I give this trailer an A-.

Photo courtesy of http://memegenerator.net/

Photo courtesy of http://memegenerator.net/

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The times they are a changin’ …

On February 8, 1991, video game publisher Silicon and Synapse was founded. They would go on to develop the world’s most successful personal computer game franchise; Warcraft.

But wait!? Isn’t Warcraft made by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.? It certainly is, as Silicon and Synapse became Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in 1994. In the early 90’s, it wasn’t unusual to spend $40 to $70 per title to play a game on your personal computer. Adjusted for inflation, that puts the price around $80 to $120 today. But today, games on the computer have taken on a completely different style than they had nearly 20 years ago.

Now, with the rise of Facebook, game developers are revisiting the old marketing mix for their games, specifically in the product and price sections, by moving to smaller scale, social versions of popular games. Many smaller companies are putting small scale games on the social network platform and charging small fees for different additional features. These “micropayments” however, mean that instead of spending $60 on a brand new game that you install on your computer, you can end up spending much more.

Micropayments (or microtransactions) are drawing a mixed bag of reviews. On one side, you have those who view these little transactions as a good thing. On the other hand, it can result in a much higher price paid for the product than if it was on a shelf somewhere.  It’s finding the right balance between these that is becoming the great white whale for developers.

I guess we can call them Ishmael.

It’s a small world after all …

It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it. Sorry.

I couldn’t help thinking about the truth of that as we sat in Tom Brennan’s Media Awareness class and learned about how the world really is getting smaller, at least on a virtual level, thanks to the internet and social media. What was predicted in the 1960s eventually became true, albeit not specifically, but they were close.

Courtesy of FansFrenzy.com

Courtesy of FansFrenzy.com

I was reminded of this yet again as I signed up for FansFrenzy.com which is a website where sports fans can spread their love (or disdain) for different sports teams. The content is then shared amongst the other members of the site, all of whom are sports fans. As a die-hard Montreal Canadiens and Kingston Frontenacs fan, this site was too good to pass up.

Here, I’ll be able to cheer on the boys as they compete for the Stanley and Memorial Cups, respectively, and not worry about drawing the ire of the non-sports fans on my Facebook page. It’s a boon for both sides of the sporting coin, as the sports fans get content dedicated to their beloved sports, and the non-sports fans get a quieter Facebook News Feed.

It’s a perfect example too, of what we had just learned in Kathy Patterson‘s Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications class about how social media isn’t just Facebook, Twitter, and the other usual suspects. Instead, more and more sites are catering to specific psychographics which allows people with similar interests, activities or opinions to have their own community.

Makes you wonder what else is out there for people? Oh, and for those of you who now hate me because the whole time you’ve been reading this blog you’ve also been singing “It’s a Small World” in your head …

 

 

… you’re welcome.

Talkin’ ’bout my Generation …

Okay I’ll admit it. I “cheated” a little for Tom Brennan’s Media Awareness class.

We had a minor report that required us to recommend two types of media to use in an advertising campaign that targeted one of three different demographics. The choices were people age 70+, upper Baby Boomers (ages 58-67), or Generation X (ages 29-48). I chose to target Generation X. How’s that “cheating” you ask?

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Yes, this is my real OHIP card, with certain obvious areas blocked out for security purposes, and because no one should ever be forced to see the picture.

Okay so I chose my own generation to target. Should be nice and easy, right? After all who else would know the media habits of Generation X than someone right in the middle of the demographic?  Turns out there was more to learn than I thought.  For instance, 86% of Generation X bring in their mail the day it was delivered.  I knew that, because I do it, but I never actually realized that I do it.

It made me think a lot, because as much as all the statistics told me that we as a demographic are adopting the internet more and more, I still remember life before the internet.

I remember playing on a TI99 in the early 1980s.

I remember playing on a TI99 in the early 1980s.

Ah, memories of Hunt the Wumpus! Then there were Bulletin Board Systems. Connecting to those on my 300 baud modem (300 bits per second) when everyone else was using a 24.4 (kilobits per second) was awful!

To think we connect now at megabits per second ...

To think we connect now at megabits per second …

Of course, online gaming was very different then too. Millions of people play World of Warcraft right now, but this is how it would have looked if it had been around back then …

Ah, those pesky orcs!!

Ah, those pesky orcs!!

So when all this data pointed to online as one of the best ways to reach me, and those like me, it was surprising to say the least, but not entirely.  After all, look at all of the advances in technology that have happened in our lifetime.

I almost feel sorry for the rest of my class.  Poor Millennials …

Persuade Me

What’s the most prevalent use of persuasive writing in the world today? If you answered “cover letters” then I’d be okay with that answer. Although I’m certain it’s dating website profiles.

The first dating website was kiss.com, registered in December 1994 by Lee Zehrer. Since then, the industry has grown to the point where 40 million Americans tried online dating just last year. That’s not really surprising, when you consider that dating sites cover nearly every conceivable type of relationship, from casual encounters, to long term relationships. There’s even a site dedicated to those who want to cheat on their spouses!

ImageDating profiles run the gamut from the really good, to the horrifically poor. Of course, what makes a profile good or bad depends on the viewer.  I can only hope that my profile on PlentyOfFish is considered a good one. Even then, despite having built my profile message around the Attention/Interest/Desire/Action formula provided to us in writing class, according to BusinessInsider.com, it’ll take roughly 58 messages before I get a quality response.

ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

(NB.  This is a famous video once thought to be an actual eHarmony profile video.)

Trading places with Sisyphus …

“If you want a job done right …”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m the only one who could do this task. Heck, I honestly don’t think I can do it at all. At least, not yet. What task is that, you’re asking? Increasing the viewership of Ontario Championship Wrestling (OCW).

We’re many years since the last “golden age” of wrestling. According to WrestlingData.com, the highest attendance at a Canadian professional wrestling event in 1998 (in the midst of the last “golden age”) was in Vancouver, British Columbia on December 13. The fans were there for a combined World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, although then it was still the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)) Sunday Night Heat TV and In Your House 26: Rock Bottom Pay Per View broadcast. It boasted 17,677 fans in attendance. In comparison, just last year, the highest attendance at a Canadian professional wrestling event was on March 1st in Toronto, Ontario, for a WWE Raw TV broadcast, where 9,500 fans attended. That’s a 46 percent decrease in just fifteen years.

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This is what it feels like sometimes …

So how is OCW, a small company with an even smaller budget for its events, supposed to garner more attention? Events in Kingston, OCW’s home city, routinely draw between 65 and 75 people, and most of them are familiar faces. Events in other cities and towns have been held, with a small measure of success, but there isn’t much cross-over of fans from one area to another. Thos of us who work for OCW don’t see many of the fans we’re getting used to seeing in Deseronto at our Kingston shows, and vice versa. As for our Kingston shows, we’re also seeing less and less new faces, despite all our efforts to attract new fans.

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Amazing work by our in-house graphic designer, 2013 SLC Graphic Design grad Matthew Olivera.

The only resources we have are a Facebook group and posters. Twitter is going to be added soon, but I for one am skeptical of its potential as a marketing tool in this situation. With Facebook, we reach mostly wrestlers, with a handful of fans. In fact, many of the people who have joined the group aren’t even from Kingston, or even Canada. They’re simply following what’s happening with the company through the internet. As for the posters, we have tried both a blanket approach, with many posters reaching as many eyes as we possibly can, and a more focused approach, paying particular attention to the more populated areas that feature the kind of people we’ve seen at our shows, attempting to maximize views of the posters, while having to print less posters (and thus, save money.) Neither postering approach seems to have worked, so we’re at a bit of an impasse.

So where do we go from here? Will Twitter turn out to be a valuable advertising tool for us? Our attempts at maintaining an updated YouTube presence has stumbled but also historically haven’t produced much in the way of results. Sponsors for the events would be nice, but with the industry in a slump, it’s hard to sell the benefits to local business. Do we decide to remain content, as a market follower, and hope that the WWE finds something that will cause another renaissance in the business, or do we continue to see what we can do to forge our own path? Only time will tell what happens, but in the meantime …

… I’m open to any and all suggestions.

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When “for your protection” becomes ridiculous …

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Sony Entertainment, you make great electronics.  Now start putting that quality assurance into your customer service for a change!

Recently, having lost access to a Playstation 3 in my separation from my wife, I found myself purchasing a brand new console.  Included in the console is a code, and a promise of access to their Playstation Plus service, free for 30 days.  To sign up for said service, you need a valid credit card.  Luckily I have one, from the National Bank.

But wait, says Sony.  The National Bank of Canada doesn’t use the Address Verification System, so it’s not a valid card.  At least, not according to Sony.  With recent PR hurdles surrounding their network being hacked (additional link)(link here too)(and here), having an extra tight layer of security makes sense, but to the extent that you invalidate entire credit card providers?

They aren’t even covering it up.  It’s almost like they’re proud that their system is broken.  They clearly state several times on their website that card providers who don’t use the same system are considered invalid.

But, they seem to say, surely this won’t upset a whole bucket-load of consumers of our product, right?  Guess again, Sony.  There are several forum threads dedicated to this issue, and the steps (usually wrong) on how to get around it.

When I spoke to Sony‘s Customer Service about the issue, they were horrifically unapologetic, and completely unwilling to work out a resolution to the issue, despite openly admitting that it was entirely their fault.  They simply adopted the “too bad, so sad” approach.

Way to go, Sony.  In the language of the people who play your games together online, this whole situation is one epic fail.

Adam Wemp is an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at St. Lawrence College

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