Earned media was extremely important to meet our main goal of generating attendance for the film
When developing the Marketing Plan for the film Secrets of theSea we knew the Science Centre had a limited budget compared to other films and that earned media was extremely important to meet our main goal of generating attendance for the film.
One of the strategies was to develop a variety of launch events on January 12, the opening day, to generate earned media, social media engagement, and ticket sales. To achieve this strategy, the Science Centre invited Jonathan Bird, the director of Secrets of the Sea, to be part of our opening day and developed a creative event that we knew would become a “talker,” the Sea-lebrity Sea Plunge.
We invited a variety of local celebrities from television, radio, and social influencers to dress up and sign up for the challenge and had a great response.
Then, a week prior to the launch we started the fun social media chatter with these celebrities. Cardboard cutouts of them being dunked resulted in them and the public responding on social. As the celebrities’ excitement grew, they reached beyond social and started letting the public know through chatter on their radio and TV platforms as well. They shared what they would be dressed up as, their fear of water temperature, and the excitement about meeting the film’s director. By the time the launch day arrived we had already built up a lot of community awareness and opening day ticket sales were almost sold out.
The Sea-lebrity Plunge was a fun afternoon involving a dunk tank (water and snow), the local celebrities, the film’s director, and the public. Challengers wore great costumes and waited on the plank, as the public eagerly threw softballs at the target to sink their favorite celebrities.
The costumes included a stingray, pig, panda, mermaid, a diver suit, and even a purple Science Centre lab coat. The pre-launch chatter on all social, the celebrities’ engagement and amplification, a creative hook on the launch day, and, of course, an amazing film and on-site director all resulted in record-breaking ticket sales opening night and into the weekend.
The earned media response was tremendous and included mentions from celebrities and the public.
• “Soo Cool”
• “I couldn’t wait to sink that weatherman” …
• “The director Jonathan Bird also swam with the fishes!”
• “Sitting in a dunk tank wearing a mermaid tail has been on my bucket list for years “
• This media event made it onto the Curiocity Edmonton – “10 things to do in and around Edmonton this week (January 9-13)”
• “Saw this the other day. Really good photography and such an assortment of creatures”
• “Went yesterday and it was great! Almost jumped out my set a few times too.”
The rest of the Secrets of the Sea marketing plan is still in place and unfolding, but this opening event gave us a tremendous start in creating awareness and attendance.
Submitted by Donalda Pelton and Ursula Pattloch, Telus World of Science-Edmonton