With everybody scrambling to do SMS voting, mobile coupons, branded content or serial mobisodes, it is easy to forget the blatantly obvious fact that the killer app for the phone was established long ago-- it's voice. New Line Cinema partnered with VariTalk to create a phone campaign that is simple, fun, effective and takes advantage of the one feature that works across all phones, all plans and all carriers (even the few stray remaining landlines).
The application is simple and easy to use. Just enter your name, your friend's name, answer some questions about your friend and VariTalk mixes and sends your friend a personalized message from Samuel L. Jackson. The only downside is that much like buying a personalized license plate at Disney World, the application gets a bit frustrating if your friend has a non-standard name (sorry Lon, Ronald was the closest they had).
New Line has the enviable task of promoting a movie that, sparked by an entry in Josh Friedman's blog, has become this year's poster child for blog-driven, word-of-mouth movie marketing. It's the consumers who own the marketing of this film. New Line's job is to carefully stoke the fires every now and then. The beauty of this campaign is how direct the marketing message is. In the call, Jackson's voice booms "Snakes on a Plane just might be the best motion picture ever made…so on August 18th, skip work…and go see Snakes on a Plane." And the thing is, it works.
-- Patrick V. Barrett, senior interaction designer, Bazaarvoice
For me, this was the pinnacle of the marketing campaign for "Snakes on a Plane." Sure, other companies have used technology like Varitalk's to deliver personalized phone calls, text messages or emails to ask consumers to buy this or watch that. But none of them had Samuel L. freakin Jackson commanding call recipients to see "the greatest film ever made." Would you disobey the orders of the man who was Shaft? I didn't think so.
I loved that the site allowed "Sam" to call you and your unsuspecting friends by name -- at least, if your name was included in New Line's list of possibilities -- and allowed you to personalize the message with occupations, distinguishing characteristics, mode of transportation, et cetera. Also, it was a nice touch that while setting up the call details, "Sam" chatted with you, making it seem like he and you were in on the plot together. New Line made a wise decision in programming this to come from the film's outspoken star (rather than his SoaP character)-- Mr. Jackson has been so accessible and willing to champion this film that you could almost believe New Line had him seated in a call center somewhere, shilling to his heart's content.
The application was easy to work with, the graphics integrated well with the rest of the SoaP campaign and the viral potential of this effort was phenomenal, given the already rabid fan base. I alone probably sent a good percentage of the million calls delivered in the first week.
-- Jodi Harris, editor, Entertainment Spot