Chronicles Riddick DVD

Critics panned it and moviegoers turned a cold shoulder. So how do you hype the DVD launch of the Vin Diesel Pitch Black sequel The Chronicles of Riddick? If you're Toronto's Capital C, you promote the film on its merits as a sci-fi special effects bonanza.

Critics panned it and moviegoers turned a cold shoulder. So how do you hype the DVD launch of the Vin Diesel Pitch Black sequel The Chronicles of Riddick? If you’re Toronto’s Capital C, you promote the film on its merits as a sci-fi special effects bonanza.

First you send a cool news-vite to DVD reviewers with a slick slideshow of scenes from the movie.

Then, to reach your 18-34 male target you team up with Silver Snail, a comic book store with locations in Toronto and Ottawa, for in-store promos and Microsoft’s Xbox (which also has a videogame version of the movie), and promote the chance to win one of 50 Xbox exclusive prize packages on specialty channel Space Television and ‘guy’ radio stations. Winning DVDs come with a glow-in-the-dark game piece of Riddick, tying in to the film’s storyline.

Things went so well that when a Huntsville, Ont. video store was robbed, the only things missing were DVDs offering the chance to win.

To learn how it went from very cold to oh-so-hot, we spoke with Max Lenderman, VP and CD at Montreal-based Gearwerx and Mike Farrell, a partner and director of research and strategy at Toronto’s Youthography.

Overall Concept

ML: They were correct that it would be the comic book geeks and the sci-fi evangelists who are going to be their primary target. So going to the comic book store was a great idea. Going local to ‘guy’ radio stations – that was also a pretty good idea. But I was surprised they didn’t do a bit more street-level evangelism than they did.

MF: It was a great straightforward approach. And it needed to be because that’s how journalists like it. They didn’t tie [the movie] to the actors. They tied the promotion to things that are obvious: space, science fiction and males.

News-vite

ML: It’s a great way to get good interactive content and try to hook the journalist. But I don’t understand why they have stills. Take it a step further and throw in some video clips.

MF: Best-case scenario it would have been more interactive. Maybe a game or a viral campaign or an element from the Xbox games that the actual viewer could play and forward over to other journalists.

Media plan

ML: [They could have used] buzz marketing and evangelists to generate a little word of mouth. It’s not that hard to find them: You go on a chat room and see the guy with 100 posts, who is really stoked and psyched about Riddick, and you contact him. The PR release missed in providing the big story to the movie. It was well worded and thorough but it needed the buzz on the street behind this movie. What are the kids saying?

MF: What I liked about it was that it was pretty niche, which is what you have to do with something like this. There could have been an opportunity, perhaps, with MuchMusic, but that skews much younger.

Giveaway

ML: I loved the idea of the glow-in-the-dark angle for the winners. But what intrigued me was the choice of the prizing. I figure that if your core psychographic is the sci-fi and comic book geek, they already have an Xbox by now. If you’re going to go grassroots and go into comic book stores, they are people who are into figurines, first-edition comics, limited edition posters. All the exclusive stuff; that’s how they judge their value on the feeding chain of geekdom.

MF: The giveaway itself is great. Xbox is a great promotional partner. It adds lustre. They’ve had a couple of big launches recently, Halo 2 in particular, so this ties into that, picks up on the energy that’s out there so journalists might be more willing to pay attention to that kind of cross promotion.

The creds:

Capital C: Jaye Kornblum-Rea, strategic direction; Jefferson Darrell, account director; Jodi Gibbs, Rick Chiarelli and Chris McConnell, account managers; Michelle Smyth, senior account director; Stever Gauder, senior art director; John Datseris, strategic direction; Michael Koly, art director

Universal Studios Home Entertainment: SVP marketing Sandra Sanderson; marketing director Nancy Modrcin; senior marketing coordinator Gayle Thomson