Marketing Movie Magic: Perfect Promo Items for “Big Fan” and “Paranormal Activity”

With the announcements for the Oscar nominees on February 2nd, the competition is kicking into high gear for movie studios. The people in the biz always say it’s an honor just to be nominated, but you know they go home and cry into their champagne and caviar and cocaine every time they lose. Marketing executives need to get buzz going about the films that are expected to garner nominations (and wins), and the smaller, more offbeat pieces often fall to the wayside.

As a lifelong fan of the underdogs, I decided it was my duty to present to you two films this year that could have used the Jana touch in the marketing plans.

Big Fan
Written and Directed by Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler)
Starring Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rappaport

This excellent film focuses on parking garage attendant Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) and his unshakable dedication to the New York Giants and their star player, Quantrell Bishop (Johnathan Hamm). Although you can readily find more information in plot synopses, I highly recommend going into this movie without knowing anything else. If you’ve ever wanted a movie that avoided stupid dialogue (Lines like “How many times do I have to tell you?” followed by ridiculous exposition don’t appear anywhere in this flick) and had a beautifully unexpected yet inevitable ending, this is the movie for you.

As far as promotions go, this movie (which was only shown in limited release) could have benefited from these incredible promotional products.

Football Hand Fan
An inexpensive item, the custom Football Hand Fan provides an enormous imprint area and a shape that perfectly represents the movie’s basis. There’s plenty of room for a logo, tagline, release date, and even the names of actors starring in the movie. Distributing a personalized Football Hand Fan either at a football game or a film event gives the marketers double the audience exposure.

Laced Football Keychain
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: keychains work. Take a look at your own keyring. How many of those have logos? I’d be willing to bet you’ve got several, and that’s just the set you have on you. The customized Laced Football Keychain allows the publicity folks to get their product into your hands. Every time you start your car, open your door, or lock your office behind you, you get a dose of the movie’s logo and a reminder of the release date. The personalized Laced Football Keychain will definitely win those extra exposure points.

Mini Light Up Name Fan
Ah, yes, of course you’d have to advertise a film called Big Fan with – you guessed it – a big fan. But with the economy what it is, I would have put my support behind the custom Mini Light Up Name Fan. This is one of our several custom message fans that allows the user to program their own message for flashing throughout several cycles. Name of the movie, release date, tagline – depending on the length, the marketers might be able to fit them all!

Paranormal Activity
Created and directed by Oren Peli
Starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat

As a certified horror geek, I had been following the news of this movie for years. Paranormal Activity would pop up at a film festival, scare the crap out of everyone, and then disappear again. Finally, Paramount (who had bought the film from director Oren Peli) launched a campaign for potential fans to demand the movie in their area. The top cities received midnight screenings, and the whole thing expanded from there. While it was a successful venture, with the “Demand It!” requests topping 1 million, promotional products may have brought it more attention sooner instead of having to pop up only occasionally over the course of several years before securing a wide release. This movie scared the absolute crap out of me, and I slept with the light on for three nights. Keep in mind that I do not believe AT ALL in the paranormal, and I was still reduced to a whimpering baby. Anyway, that horror could have taken place years ago if they just put some cash into promotional products.

Bed Stress Ball
The premise of the film is that a young couple who have just moved in together start experiencing strange things at night. The curious boyfriend decides to set up a video camera to capture whatever it happening while they sleep. The iconic image of the film is the couple sleeping in bed with the door to their bedroom order (First order of business if this is happening to me: close the damn door.). The logo for the film plus their tagline (“What happens when you sleep?”) imprinted on a custom bed stress ball would be certain to intrigue.

Web Cam
Although this indie flick was made for only about 11K and was clearly limited in the budget department, the filmmaker needed to get a studio backing for wide release. That means spending a little extra moolah. A personalized web cam sent to studio executives with the original tagline and movie title would have certainly piqued curiosity. Countless movies come across those executive desks; this promotional product paired with the DVD might have set Paranormal Activity apart.

So what do you think, fellow film fans? Have you seen these films? Have you even heard of them? Does having a promotional product to bring attention to entertainment media interest you? How should independent filmmakers get attention from busy studio executives? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!


Jana Quinn

An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.


  1. Edmundo Smoot

    I usually don’t stop to leave a comment, but this post rocks! Thanks for the good read!

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