Part 4: The Secrets of the Secret

by | January 18, 2011 | Case Studies, Distribution, DIY, Merchandise, Strategy, Tips

Today is Part 4 of Julie Eckersley’s 5 Part amazing Guest Post Series on the distribution and marketing of “The Secret”. Here’s Julie:

In early 2006, Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne launched her feature length documentary online. It was called The Secret. The film spread like wildfire around the globe as viewers took up the viral campaign Byrne had begun.

This blog post is part 4 of the lessons we can learn from her success.

So far:
Lesson 1: Start strong
Lesson 2: Tap into people’s passion
Lesson 3: Understand the power of your title
Lesson 4: Plan your marketing campaign from day 1.
Lesson 5: Align yourself with the key influencers in the area.
Lesson 6: Alternative release and some very good news.

Lesson 7: Shoot a Promo First

Now this is interesting.
Before Byrne even started shooting her film – she shot a promo for it and began garnering online support.

Initially, three short promos were released via the Internet in 2005, in the form of
‘clues’ as to what ‘The Secret’ was. They were posted intermittently one at a time
on the the secret website and
assured that viewer that ‘a secret was about to be delivered’. Byrne’s viral campaign was in keeping with her title. It played in the on the idea of a ‘secret’. And people wanted to know what ‘the secret’ was.

The promos were intended to drive people to the website where they could then be in direct contact with the filmmakers and receive a new level of inside information and updates. Her campaign centered on making people feel special, followers were given intimate access to parts of the film and those in it that was not available to others. This sense of belonging was key to the projects success and also the ownership that the public took of the project through engaging in the viral campaign. Then, the producers created a trailer and posted it online.

Byrne also chose her stars very well. Each of them already had a well established following and website mailing list in their own right and between them it is estimated that they had access to hundreds of thousands of people. It was a very strong starting platform.

The teaser was released first to the stars (building their importance in the project) who then released it to people they already had a relationship with.

The Vividas technology that Byrne used allowed viewers to sign up directly to the producers’ mailing list after they had watched the promo. The process completely bypassed traditional media distribution channels and enabled the creators to link directly with an audience, which had already expressed an interest in their product. The emails were mailed frequently to a targeted and opt-in mailing list from the web site during a six-month period as sole marketing for the launch.

You tube

Of course all of these were released on YouTube. She also has now made available the first 20 minutes of the film on YouTube, at the end of which you have the option to click through to PPV.

To be continued:

Julie Eckersley currently works at Matchbox Pictures.
Follow us on Twitter @MatchboxPic