Ken Friedman ken.friedman at bi.no
Sun May 20 02:42:29 PDT 2001

   Copyright 2001 National Public Radio (R) -- National Public Radio (NPR)

   May 18, 2001, Friday




  SCOTT SIMON, host: Now whether a movie succeeds or not at the box office
  often has little to do with what we identify as quality. It can come up
  or down to word-of-mouth recommendation, what one friend tells another.
  Buzz might be the other word. Most famous example in recent years is
  probably "The Blair Witch Project." That was a small-budget project which
  became a hit based largely on the traffic of its Web site. Now that kind
  of publicity has a name. It's called viral marketing, and it's most
  successful, as you may expect, with the 18- to 24-year-old age group.
  Viral marketing works by drawing people in by creating a cyberworld that
  is related to the film but not explicitly so. It's advertising but not
  obviously so. Amorette Jones is executive vice president of worldwide
  marketing for Artisan Entertainment, a pioneer of viral marketing. She
  insists that viral marketing is immensely successful.

  Ms. AMORETTE JONES (Executive Vice President of Worldwide Marketing,
  Artisan Entertainment): It absolutely works. A lot of people have talked
  about "The Blair Witch Project" Web site.

  SIMON: Mm-hmm.

  Ms. JONES: And I think what was so fantastic about that is that we really
  recognized the power of the Web, how wide-reaching things happen and how
  quickly you get the word out. You build that urgency and build the buzz
  and enormous traffic. Since we had the experience with "Blair Witch
  Project," we've followed up with several other Web sites that have had
  that viral component...

  SIMON: Mm-hmm.

  Ms. JONES: ...that is all important in a campaign.

  SIMON: Question of the day in these economic times: How do you get people
  to visit a Web site?

  Ms. JONES: Our first goal is to work with the filmmakers in a
  collaborative effort to put together something incredibly creative and
  original online. And we start out with that, and we then develop a
  campaign that specifically targets users to develop that traffic. So in
  the same way that we develop an overall marketing campaign for a
  theatrical release, we also develop a campaign for the Web site launch.
  What our goal is, is with these Web sites that don't necessarily have the
  banner across the top, 'The movie's coming to your market on this date;
  go buy your ticket,' we try and develop a site that's going to feel
  authentic to the film, so it's going to feel that they worked together in
  complement, although it's not necessarily a straightforward promotional

  SIMON: Mm-hmm. What were you trying to do with the "Center of the World"
  Web site?

  Ms. JONES: We have a film that was shot entirely on digital, picture
  directed by Wayne Wang, and Wayne had decided within the body of this
  film that he was really going to push the envelope and to develop a
  picture that spoke to a lot of what's happening today in society. What
  our goal was with the Web site is to work with Wayne and again...

  SIMON: Let me interrupt you. You get to put some naughty pictures in
  this, don't you?

  Ms. JONES: Yeah, absolutely. We did. It wasn't for the sake of putting
  naughty pictures up on the Web. What we attempted to do with the sites,
  and I think what we successfully did, is we were able to develop a
  provocative piece of advertising, of promotion.

  SIMON: Mm-hmm.

  Ms. JONES: You know, in this site, as you go into the site, you go
  through the rules, you go into a strip club, you participate in a
  striptease. You then, as the user, can choose to have a lap dance. You
  then take the next step and you go behind the scenes and have this very
  voyeuristic experience in a dressing room with the dancer. And then, at
  the end of the site, you have a one-on-one interaction with the dancer in
  a very intimate setting, and there is a chat function in which the user
  is able to communicate with this dancer. As the user, you're in this very
  intimate setting and you're in this very provocative arrangement, yet
  it's so not intimate. And that was one of the points that Wayne was
  trying to make in the picture, and that's one of the points that we were
  making with this Web site.

  SIMON: Ms. Jones, thanks very much for speaking with us.

  Ms. JONES: Absolutely. Thank you.

  SIMON: Amorette Jones is executive vice president of worldwide marketing
  for Artisan Entertainment.

  And this is NPR, National Public Radio.

  May 19, 2001

   Copyright 2001 National Public Radio (R) -- National Public Radio (NPR)

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