Promoting movies has taken a new direction over the last few years. While TV still forms the cornerstone with up to 60 % of the marketing budget, the old favorites such as billboards and newspapers are not considered essential anymore.
In just eight years, digital marketing has gone from 1 % of the total marketing budget to 12 %, showing that marketers are targeting specific groups and with the intent of engaging them directly. When you consider that studios spend millions in their advertising campaigns, the amount spent in using new media is extremely significant, but the returns justify it without a doubt.
When Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was due to hit the screen last year, Paramount placed a single full page in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times during the opening week. Compare this to the numerous full-page and double full-page ads that used to be placed in higher frequencies by movies up until then that seems like a folly now. However, the movie grossed over $200 million within five days and Paramount was vindicated. Soon other movies like Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Avatar followed suit.
Studios have also shifted to using traditional media like newspapers and billboards to drive traffic to their websites. These methods enable them to engage with the public thus creating hype. They have also gone back to an old technique used by Hollywood in days gone by, where actors are taken on nationwide and worldwide tours to promote the movie on TV, Radio and public gatherings. While these tours do cost up to about $1 million or more, it is negligible in the face of earnings that regularly exceed $100 million.