When all that buzz turns into zzzz
I have a lot of respect for Braff and his skills. He's an excellent actor, and a better marketer. He (and/or his people) have mastered building relationships in the blogosphere and through social networks. Until this point - until I lost my trust in his communication - I appreciated (as a fan and marketer) the way he utilized new communications and built his community. His influence can be seen in the cult following of Scrubs. In the amazing reception and continued chatter surrounding Garden State and in his keen ear for choosing music and launching musicians' careers. I give him all of that. Unfortunately, my analysis of this movie's promotion - and his key role in that promotion - changed drastically before and after the movie.
Before: more from Braff, a thought-leader and creative mind I respect...he's super pumped, therefore I'm super pumped.
After: the promotion was designed to get people to the first weekend screening because you sure as heck can't rely on the movie to carry buzz. And please give me back the 18 bucks. My date (who was wonderfully forgiving of my bad choice in movies) and I could have had a couple more glasses of wine, or maybe played putt-putt. Either would have been more entertaining.
The movie relied heavily on - and executed well - two vehicles for communication: iTunes and MySpace. They did everything right, except provide a worthy ending (product).
I'm sad that this didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. I looked forward to blogging on the movie's success. Unfortunately, this is a perfect example of the difference between marketing because you have a unique, relevant product and marketing because the bottom line - and maybe your career - depend on it. It's the difference between creating a window and a smoke screen.
We "new communication" marketers blog a lot on the origin of buzz. Buzz that's organic vs. buzz that's part of a seedy marketing plan. We applaud viral efforts and curse manufactured web spam. If I were to teach a class on marketing, I'd bring two videos to the first lecture to illustrate the different kinds of buzz.
Successful product (Garden State) + social networks EQUALS organic, good buzz.
Social network(ing) + buzz DOES NOT EQUAL a successful product (The Last Kiss).
The "buzz" that surrounded the release of this movie was not caused by social networks (people) but by social networking (person). And therein lies the problem.
Spend your money on the soundtrack. Or the Garden State DVD. Or the Garden State soundtrack. Or a couple more glasses of wine for you and your date.