INTERACTIVE: The Hercules film travels online to capture a male teenage audience - CASE STUDY/HERCULES SITE/How Foresight uses online competitions and Gerard Scarfe animations to lure youngsters

Marketing grown-up films, such as the Full Monty, on a grown-up medium, the Internet, may be child’s play, but how do you persuade teenage males to visit what is essentially a site for a children’s film?

Marketing grown-up films, such as the Full Monty, on a grown-up

medium, the Internet, may be child’s play, but how do you persuade

teenage males to visit what is essentially a site for a children’s

film?



Foresight, the marketing company specialising in entertainment, leisure,

IT and fmcg markets, faced precisely that problem when it was asked by

Buena Vista International to create a Website for the film,

Hercules.



Child audiences for the Walt Disney film were guaranteed but BVI wanted

to tempt an older, predominantly male, audience into cinemas via the

Internet.



The company recognised the need for more than just competitions to

attract the target audience. Gerald Scarfe, the political cartoonist and

a selling point to the target group, features on the site,

www.herc.co.uk. Scarfe was approached by Walt Disney three years ago to

contribute to the film and Foresight persuaded him to be interviewed in

his Chelsea studio. The resulting Quicktime video can be accessed

online.



Kathleen O’Donnell, business development director at Foresight who

worked on the original brief, believes Scarfe’s involvement helped a

great deal.



’We wanted to bring in the largest audience possible for the film with a

fully interactive Website, and Scarfe was brilliant. He allowed us to

put his sketches and drawings on the site, which made it more attractive

to students and art schools,’ she says.



’Scarfe is a cult figure among students as the animator on Pink Floyd’s

film, The Wall. His appeal stretches from young to old and that was

something we had to make use of. We persuaded Apple Computer to sponsor

the site, and it donated a prize fund for competitions that encouraged

more people to come online to enter the competitions.’



Foresight was given its brief in March and created a teaser site in

July. The main site was running by September, a month before the release

of Hercules. BVI’s marketing director, Robert Mitchell, was involved

from the beginning and O’Donnell believes that helped. ’The Hercules

site was promoted via press ads and below-the-line activity, but our

main objective was to target young males. We ran competitions with

Virgin Radio and the site was featured on Blue Peter,’ she says.



Shockwave and Flash applications have been used for the animations and

Quicktime video.



A competition for students was devised requesting National Union of

Students membership numbers before entry. The prize for that was a

private screening at the winner’s local cinema for 50 friends. There are

also several competitions to win Apple computers and Hercules

merchandise.



The site has been visited by more than 300,000 individuals since the

film’s launch last month. Mitchell believes the site played an important

part in the film’s promotion, but refuses to reveal how much of the

marketing budget went on it. ’There were several reasons for doing the

Website.



The Internet is the ideal way to reach young males. It was also a

publicity opportunity for a very marketable movie,’ he says. ’Although

we can’t say what percentage of the film’s audience is young male, the

shows at 7pm and 9pm are just as popular as the matinees.’



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).