The Following Preview Has Been Approved for All Audiences

Posted on in Blog

What can a marketing asset like a movie trailer teach you about marketing in general?

If you’re like me, part of the experience in going to see a movie at the theater is equal parts wanting to see the new movie, wanting to sit and eat Reece’s Pieces and wanting to check out the trailers for upcoming movies.

Some trailers are obviously better than others. But have you ever wondered what makes a good trailer? What makes a trailer stand out and be remembered—and, for our purposes—how can we apply this to marketing?

Take a look at this video via the YouTube channel Now You See It: The Problem with Trailers. He breaks down the basic elements of a movie trailer and discusses the difference between the wheat and chaff (so to speak).



In the video, you learn that trailers are comprised of four main elements:

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Conflict
  • Cliffhanger

Now You See It describes the trailer as being like the movie’s own short story of itself—which is true, to a point. What’s more interesting to me is the underlying purpose of the trailer: to get you to want to go see the movie.

It’s a marketing tactic. We know that. At its core, a movie trailer is simply one cog in the great Movie Marketing Wheel, but that doesn’t mean we can’t glean some insights from it.

Keeping in mind the basic elements of a movie trailer—ask yourself whether your individual marketing efforts are comprised of these same basic things. Are you working with a plot? Who is your cast of characters? What’s the conflict and how do you leave your audience begging for more? At the end of a day, that’s really what all of your marketing efforts should boil down to.

Now, I’m not saying each effort needs to take a form similar to that of a movie trailer or a short story. But we can improve our efforts by thinking along similar lines:

  • Plot: This is your brand’s story; it’s the framework that you work in to bring your brand to life.
  • Characters: These can be literal characters or they can be representative of your target audience—or both. Whoever they are—and in whatever context (whether it’s B2B or B2C)—your cast gives your marketing efforts something relatable for your audience.
  • Conflict: This one’s pretty straightforward—what is it you’re trying to do for your audience; what pain point are they experiencing?
  • Cliffhanger: Again—pretty basic: we want the audience to do something and leaving something to be desired is a great tactic

Knowing what your marketing materials should do is just half the battle. It’s just as important to know what they shouldn’t do. So, let’s take a quick look at that. Ultimately:

Your marketing efforts should not become predictable or boring.

In the video above, Now You See It discusses what could be called “classical” trailers. These are the “In a world”-type trailers—the kind that are essentially rote narrations of what the movie is about and who the characters are, with clips from the movie itself used more as an accent than as a plot driver.

These so-called “classical” trailers may have been effective at getting people excited for the movie in the past—but for the most part now, they’re flat; they’re too predictable and they’re too boring. So the audience forgets about them.

Your marketing efforts should follow this same principal: don’t be predictable or boring.

I’ll leave you with a few more takeaways from the video. And if you found this helpful, don’t be afraid to reach out and contact us—or just comment in the blog, below. You can also check out our Vimeo page to see some examples of Oneupweb marketing videos we’ve put together.


Additional takeaways:

  • Get more efficient with your resources. Let your characters do the talking, rather than a rote narrator—get at that voice of the customer.
  • Show, don’t tell. This is related to the above, but when introducing the conflict and the cliffhanger, show it; help the audience experience it.
  • Use surprise to disrupt the normal. Let your instinct guide you—if it feels stale or done before, it probably has been. What can you do that’s new and different while still keeping true to your brand?

House Seats via photopin (license)

Up Next

Are you a tech-savvy SEO enthusiast? Join our team at Oneupweb and bridge the gap between technical website health and on-page SEO best practices. Collaborate with web development and content marketing teams, optimize websites, and drive organic traffic for our clients. Let’s boost search rankings together! Responsibilities:   Requirements:  Preferred:  Benefits ...

Read More