Hooray for Hollywood's Megabucks

Time for agents to cash in on Oscar hype

By: Kenneth Shapiro

As this issue hits your desk, the Academy Awards hype is kicking into full swing. This time of year, the studios step up their marketing efforts to wring every last dollar out of the media attention. Annoying? Maybe. Potentially profitable? Definitely.

In this issue’s cover story on movies and tourism (page 60), the concept of marketing is central. The typical national tourism office might spend a few thousand dollars on a promotional video for their country. Compare that to the hundreds of millions spent on “Lord of the Rings,” for example, and it’s no wonder that the film is the best marketing tool New Zealand could have hoped for.

Like national tourism offices, if your agency seizes on the opportunity such movies present, then this sort of marketing is the best of all, as you piggyback on the money spent by others. Let Warner Bros. take out the expensive ads and Universal do the commercials. They’ll advertise the destination, your job is to have your clients turn to you when they want to walk in the footsteps of the stars.

Of course, there’s still work you need to do to take advantage of the trends. For instance, do some research on future movies and television shows, so you’ll be sure to be ahead of the demand. Remember it doesn’t have to be an Oscar movie (as I write this, Hilton Hawaii is promoting a package based on the film “50 First Dates,” which was shot on Oahu).

Finally, when a client does express an interest in traveling to a film’s location, be sure to ask what in particular he or she liked about the movie. Nothing is worse than sending a client to New Zealand, when the scene he liked was shot in beautiful Burbank.