Ad Age Article on Blindside and Faith-Based Marketing

I finally saw something interesting on the new twitter “retweet” feature that shows you retweets of people who are followed by people you follow. It’s supposed to help you find new interesting people to follow based off who the people you already follow…follow.

Anyway, one such retweet mentioned this article from Advertising Age about how “Blindside” unseated “New Moon” at the box office.

From the article:

“When you open on Nov. 20 and you’re opening against the sequel to ‘Twilight,’ and you know that the ‘Twilight’ opening weekend did $69 million and ‘New Moon’ should do better, one of the things that crosses your mind is, ‘Who isn’t going to go to “Twilight”?'” said Richard Ingber, president of worldwide marketing at Alcon Entertainment. “I don’t know that much about the ‘New Moon’ audience, but I would imagine there’s a lot of faith-based people not into ‘New Moon’ and vampires who might be into ‘The Blind Side.'”

Enter Grace Hill Media. Led by Jonathan Bock, a Warner Bros. publicity veteran who worked on Christian-friendly films such as “The Green Mile” and “My Dog Skip,” the company has helped market some 285 movies to the Christian circuit since 2000 through its database of 155,000 ministry professionals and more than 1 million consumers. When a movie with religious or spiritual themes is about to hit the marketplace, studios often tap Grace Hill to connect the film’s message with its network of Christian media outlets or its highly valuable online community of ministry professionals who use relevant clips from new movies to give a pop-culture focus to their video-enabled Sunday sermons.

And later from a Q&A with Grace Hill’s Mr. Bock, a lifelong Presbyterian who attends the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles:

Well, I consider it niche marketing, which is funny to say that it’s a niche when you’re talking about the size. But even if you’re a specialist in sports marketing, reaching out to mostly men, that’s still a niche. But like any sort of niche marketing, it really requires, to some degree, a familiarity with and respect of the audience you’re trying to market to. And just like I can’t imagine people involved in sports marketing don’t like sports, you got to be able to talk that talk. If you don’t, people see through that in two seconds.

The same thing is true here. You can’t just buy your way in; it does require a bit of a learning process, and it’s very relationship-based. It also just comes down to understanding who the audience is and what will work. I think people on the coasts tend to think of the religious community as very monolithic, that everybody’s an Evangelical and waiting on the next commandment from Rush Limbaugh. Once you understand there’s so much more, there is where the real success comes in.

I have been so long in encouraging people of faith to go see movies that are friendly to religious values. I have always looked at if from our view of trying to shape the culture, and entertainment. Here is a look at the other side, where they are not only making an uplifting film (So I hear, have not seen it yet. Don’t ruin the plot for me.) but then specifically making the content available to churches, hopes that it will cause attenders to want to see it. Makes complete sense from a marketing view.

The church takes advantage of a free resource, if they choose, and the movie get’s a plug. Websites like Wingclips have been doing this for years now, but for a fee.

As someone said to me today, “Free is good.”