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S13170358

Film Cultures

Assignment 1

Film Marketing Portfolio of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of


Azkaban.

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Film Cultures

Assignment 1

S13170358

Film Cultures

Assignment 1

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (HPPOA) is the third Harry
Potter (HP) film from the series, which was released and distributed
in 2004 by Warner Bros pictures. It was an extremely successful film
grossing a profit of $796.7 million worldwide from a budget of $130
million, positioning it as number one at the box office of which it
held that position for two weeks. Unfortunately, the film was ranked
the lowest grossing film of the series, although it was also reviewed
as one of the best films within the sequence. HPPOA was the first
film of the sequence to be released in IMAX cinemas, of which critics
plus audiences reviewed it to be the greatest instalment within the
franchise(Gunelius, 2008). HPPOA had an immense marketing
campaign by using various different media platforms to promote it.
Along with having a strong audience, of who were excited to watch
it, setting a solid platform of attention before the films release date.
Through my analysis I aim to identify the target audience whilst
examining all marketing techniques used before and after the film
was released, such as merchandise and trailers. Before finally
analysing and concluding the success of the campaign used and the
impact it had within the media through the way it was marketed.

HPPOA was the third of eight films within the sequence and much
like the rest of the films; it was based on a book. This therefore
made HPPOA a product of pre-ready made media. The third HP book
was, written in 1998 by J.K Rowling and published in 1999 by
Bloomsbury. The book alone sold over 68,000 copies within three

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days of being released making it one of the fastest selling British


books of all time, totalling over 3 million books worldwide by 2012.
Remarkably, there are minimal differences between the book and
the film but overall both media products replicate one another,
resulting in more similarities as opposed to contrasts.

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HPPOA received a film certification of a PG, which stands for


parental guidance. With the British Board of Film Classification
(BBFC) giving the film this certificate it means HPPOA is appropriate
for general viewing for all ages, however some scenes may be
unsuitable for young children. The target audience demographics
are both males and females, aged 8-20 years old who have an
interest in adventure and fantasy, as these elements are present
throughout the entire film. Considering HPPAO is a PG its evident
that theres a family element within the film that brings children and
adults together. Thus enabling adults and children to engage with
the film, furthermore it enables them to enjoy and understand the
storyline easily.

There is hardly any controversy or censorship within the film as its


not necessary due to the content present. However, HPPOA does
contain brief and mild profanity through the slight use of
inappropriate language. A variety of magical violence is used but
there is no gore, sex or nudity and there are a number of intensely
frightening scenes. These scenes may cause disruption or offence to
certain viewers, hence why the parental guidance is advised
through the certificate of classification.

The target audience for HPPOA collects a sense of gratification


whilst watching the film. McQuails theory of Uses and Gratification

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is prevalent when it comes to HPPOA audiences as they gain a sense


of escapism through the adventure and fantasy exposed throughout
the film. Fiske (1994) suggests, audiences enjoy playing with the
text through the ways in which media texts confirm and subvert
underlying rules in relation to particular texts. Fiske believes that
this is completed through audiences depending on intertexuality for
their understanding and enjoyment of the film. Something of which
is evidently clear from the audiences reaction to HPPOA plus the
supportive HP fans that continuously immerse themselves in the
film for pleasure and escapism of reality.

HPPOA consisted of a significant amount of pre-release marketing.


Aside from the memory of the HP books and the first two films of the
series being already released, the marketing was still produced on a
grand scale. The marketing campaign covered many different media
platforms, such as online marketing and merchandising, through a
variety of different ways of which attracted a lot of consumer
attention. However, the main aspects of the pre-release marketing I
plan to analyse will involve the HP books, HPPOA film posters, the
official film trailer, tie-ins and finally the pre-release merchandising.

Aforementioned, all seven of the HP books were published multiple


years before the movies were filmed or released. This created a predigested recognition of Harry Potter as a franchise. In addition to
already having a strong, supportive fan base because of the success

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that the books had, this ultimately enabled a solid foundation for the
film itself, especially in relation to fans. The books will eternally be a
product of the franchise used for marketing and promotion due to
them being the original connections regarding the HP franchise.

In 2003, the HPPOA teaser poster was released, roughly a year


before the film itself was released.

This teaser poster is extremely simplistic yet incredibly effective. In


terms of presentational rhetoric, the fact that only the film name
and the release date are predominantly present on the poster

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creates and enigma effect towards the audience. This is because the
teaser poster highlights the forthcoming of the newest HP film.
However, despite the fact there is no supporting text used; the
atmosphere of a dark eerie presence is displayed amongst us, which
is something that is yet to be revealed and therefore consequently
enhancing audience interests into the release of HPPAO.

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Following this, the
official HPPOA film
poster was released
revealing much more
detail in comparison to
the teaser poster,
however not enough
for audiences to be
able to make-up the
initial concept of the
film. This film poster is
an effective way to
market the film
because the
presentational rhetoric

reveals the three main characters, each with a worrying facial


expression. The backdrop is based black, illustrating a dementor in
the sky. Both the backdrop and front drop together reveals
adventure and mystical creatures whilst demonstrating the dark
tone of the film.
The verbal rhetoric something wicked this way comes is a
prominent tag line associated with HPPOA and clearly exposed on
the poster plus the name of the film and release date is central. The
star cast, distributors and producers have been mentioned within
the poster however they are not central, hence why, although they

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are mentioned on the poster, the verbal rhetoric used is small and
faint.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAxgztbYDbs
Another influential element of marketing used to promote HPPAO
was the official film trailer, slightly revealing film aspects that still
remained a secret with majority of the storyline. The verbal rhetoric
in the formation of text states something wicked this way comes
followed by a choir singing the exact same words in a song. This
verbal rhetoric foreshadows the events within the film as it marks
the beginning of the dark-side in relation to the HP series. Wyatt
(1994) suggests trailers attempts to draw the attention of the target
audience, serving to spread the word of mouth to others. The trailer
is a prime example of capturing the audience attention and
spreading word of mouth due to the fans being emotionally attached
to the franchise. In terms of the presentational rhetoric The Warner
Bros logo is situated in the bottom right hand corner of the screen

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throughout the entire trailer, promoting the well-known distribution


company through product placement.

Tie-ins and merchandising was already available for the HP franchise


but before the third film was released additional merchandising and
tie-ins became available for consumers to purchase. The HPPAO
video game was released in coherence with the film in May 2004 by
EA UK.

The game was available to play on multiple versions of digital media


through convergence, such as X Box, PC and Playstation 2.
Correspondingly the electronics manufacturing company Mattel inc.
released film tie-ins that included the Harry Potter Championship
Quidditch board game and character action figures.

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The symbiosis of companies merging together to produce HP


products was an outstanding success because of the increasing
popularity of the film, resulting in profit gain for the manufacturing
companies and the film producers. Moreover, the symbiosis of
companies such as Warner Bros and Mattel working in-sync to
expand the franchise ensued in spin-off products such as happymeal toys, Easter eggs and clothing. Through the distribution of
merchandise such as these it helped market the film, thus
increasing awareness and sales.

Lego also expanded on their merchandise for the first two films by
releasing new Lego sets ranging from the Knight Bus to the
Shrieking Shack. This also created an advantage for the promotion
of the film, by once again enhancing and facilitating the films
success.

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The PR marketing
of

HPPOA was a
development of the existing HP
marketing, of which was already established through its mass
saturation release of a huge marketing campaign, generating a lot
of consumer attention. The online buzz that was gained through
viral marketing severely increased brand awareness and film
popularity. This resulted in a large scale of successful sales for the
franchise. Fans like to be included in the media that they consume
(Auter and Davis, 1991). Moreover, fans became consumed in the
HP franchise, essentially taking control to creatively develop
multiple viral campaigns that allow them to express their feelings on
their excitement of the HP franchise and its upcoming events. Fans
have produced fan fiction websites, (www.the-leaky-cauldron.org
and www.mugglenet.com), Facebook pages/groups, blogs and
commitment in aspects of social media, such as continuously being
a trending topic via Twitter. All of this viral marketing helped
promote the film in an efficacious light. This form of promotion

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enabled marketers to utilise fans in a positive way in order to keep


the film afloat in regards to its internet promotion, thus allowing
fans to have the power to generate meanings, pleasures and social
identities, Fiske (1992). Following this, the marketers for HPPOA
relied heavily on word-of-mouth promotion and online viral
marketing. Something of which determined the victory of the story
behind the HP marketing. Through this the franchise expanded (with
help from sponsors, such as CocaCola), along with the evolvement
of the brand assembling it as a global change agent for publishing,
distribution, retail and more (Gunilius, 2009).

The vertical integration from Warner Bros for HPPOA was part of a
media conglomerate covering various aspects of the industry to
market the film. The expansion of publicity from AOL Time Warner
used television networks, for example CNN and TBS, as well as
magazine articles to gain access to millions of people to market the
film too. The new opportunities that arose, in terms of publicity and
sales produced with the vertical integration enabled the marketers
of HP to exploit the AOL Time Warners empire through the use of
synergy.

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JK Rowling interview with Operah.


Harry Potter article in SFX
magazine.

This was achieved through magazine articles, interviews and


television adverts, which maintained HPs word-of-mouth buzz in
addition to its marketing promotions. These opportunities resulted in
the integration becoming a success and leaving audiences always
wanting more.

The public appearance of HPPOA was another beneficial factor


towards the marketing campaign. Film premiers, social events and
interviews were arranged with the appearance of the star cast to
help the films promotion. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma
Watson participated in various interviews expressing their opinions
on the film and their characters quests and involvement within it. As
a result of these public appearances the audiences become coaxed
in the latest hype surrounding HPPOA. Fundamentally, from a
pluralism approach audiences become active when they understand

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the meaning of the text that enables them to figure out their
response towards the film (Karppinen, 2012). This ideal of pluralism
is supported by HPPOA through the fans optimistic reaction toward
the film.

In an interview with Johnny Vaughn the star cast spoke about their
characters and how prior to filming they were set writing tasks that
allowed them to explore their individual characters in further depth.
In addition to this, they also spoke about casting, concluding that
the actors replicate their characters and this resulted in the phrase
frighteningly good casting being used continuously throughout the
interview. The impressions of the cast gained from the interview
aided audience responses to forming stronger relationships between

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themselves and the actors, which then empowered the films


accomplishments even further.

Following the release of the film, the post-release marketing was yet
another successful campaign that encouraged HPPOAs public
awareness and sales. HPPOA was voted best film of the decade at
the First Light awards along with receiving multiple positive reviews
after its release. On top of this, HPPOA was nominated for multiple
film awards and won a number of these, such as the 2005 BAFTA
audience award, BAFTA childrens award and the BMI film music
award. In addition to this, HPPOA won the Empire special award and
Hollywood film award. By winning major awards, such as those
previously mentioned, it caused HPPOA to be in a phenomenal
position for the expansion of the films publicity whilst
unintentionally assisting the marketers in more promoting for the
campaign.

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The raging triumph in the new leisure


attractions of Warner Bros Studio Tour
London The making of Harry Potter is
another achievement the film has
occurred. This tourist attraction also
welcomes more publicity and profit
consumption for the franchise. Furthermore, the studio is available
for HP fans to re-live their magical HP experience as fans and
tourists are able to visualise props, scenery and familiar items thats
present within the film. This smart profitable marketing technique
increased the number of sales through HP consumers paying to see
the attractions. Moreover, they purchase gifts or items of
memorabilia during their tour. The making of the HP studio was built
to preserve and showcase iconic props, costumes and sets so the
HP fans could experience the magic of the filmmaking first
hand. I believe this attitude that the studio had
generated was extremely accurate in accordance to the
influential development plus involvement of the tour,
particularly in relation to post-release marketing sales and
fans.

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Finally, the HPPOA DVD was released in November 2004, initially six
months after the films release date. This aspect of post-release
marketing revamped the public awareness of Harry Potter grossing a
profit of $68.5 million in DVD and video advertising alone.

To conclude, aforementioned the marketing campaign for HPPOA


from the pre-release marketing through to the post-release
marketing, all efforts to promote the film have resulted in positive
exposure and an outstanding result due to the marketing. The
marketers have completed all methods of promotion through
vertical and horizontal integration, producing more merchandise
(through synergy) that helped generate film sales and popularity.
Therefore, ultimately concluding the HPPOA marketing as being
prosperous and incredibly effective in terms of exposing the films
achievement and the audience response.

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Bibliography
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Burton, Graeme. Media And Society: Critical Perspectives. 2nd ed.
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Child, Ben. 'Children Vote Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Best Film Of Decade'. the Guardian. N.p., 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2015.
Docs.lib.purdue.edu,. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
Gunelius, Susan M. Harry Potter. Mxico: Grupo Editorial Patria,
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Journal.media-culture.org.au,. 'M/C Journal: "Harry Potter And The
Fan Fiction Phenomenon"'. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

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Karppinen, Kari. Rethinking Media Pluralism. New York: Fordham


University Press, 2012. Print.
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Long, Paul, and Tim Wall. Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context.
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News, Discussion, Fandom'. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
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Wyatt, J. (1994) High Concept, Movies and Marketing in Hollywood,
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YouTube,. 'Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban Interview'. N.p.,
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2015. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.

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Centres d'intérêt liés