Marketing Film Festival

When I emailed my Persian Film Festival Marketing Manager last week, she stated in the email: the priority now is pushing all the marketing material to social media.

Let’s say we are directors of film festivals. We set up the location; we choose the theme; we have all the movies, we schedule days and time, we also have the guest lists, and all the tickets are ready for sale. What’s now? We need the audiences to buy those tickets. Since we are just film directors, can we do all of the marketing jobs to promote our film festival and make sure tickets are sold?  Do we need a marketing team? What can they do for our film festivals? Would the marketing strategy work?



Usually, films or TV programs are marketed the way to maximize audience watching and rating then convincing them to go to the cinema or watch it on television. Maybe some film festival directors and film producers feel their work is finished when they deliver the movies to distributor or sale agents or the broadcast network. However, there are more we can do to obtain successful sales of our products.

In order to design an effective marketing strategy, Film Festival should define the target audiences, marketing strategies, marketing platforms, the cooperation with celebrities, marketing content, the frequency appear on the social media and the press and so on.

In general, publicity and commercialization at the time of shooting a movie can be useful as a tool to build awareness and get public attention, especially if a star or well-known factors participate in it. The media will be interested in writing stories and stories about the movie and the actors/actresses. The key is to keep the media side by side and let them have some photoshoot, good information and keep the media up to date until the film release. Similarly, with film marketing, film festival could be marketed early and regularly by working together with the distributors, celebrities, sale agents, journalists and the marketing team to maximize the marketing results since the preparation stage.



A great marketing strategy for a film festival would include many activities with celebrities involvement and take advantage of stars/directors reputation for having a co-promotion for both parties. A variety news articles (online and paper), Tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos on their social media accounts will encourage many following posts and social media trends created by fans and journalists and media companies. With the right frequency and the right content on suitable platforms, you can create many waves of exposure and awareness to the audiences. The result is your festival name can stay up-trend on media and news for at least six months period.

Along with the media cover, there are many other paid and almost-free advertising channels that film festival can make use, depending on their marketing budget. We can create ads on:

  • Radio Commercials
  • Newspaper/magazine advertisements/articles
  • Taxis
  • Billboard
  • Bus stops
  • Drop-in ads on website
  • SMS and emails
  • Social media





It not only depends on the marketing budget of each film festival but also rely on the purpose, adequate and connect with mass audiences and other festivals using same marketing channels. Some Hollywood movie with a larger budget and massive investment from sponsors will have more marketing activities for their films. However, film festival directors can make use of their connection and the positive relationship with the local government and local marketing agents to maximize the results.

Like television, radio and magazine are leading communication platforms, and the number of audiences reaching at these platforms are guaranteed. Therefore, it will cost a bit more than other marketing strategies. film-poster-4-london-bus




Should we think of Film Festival as a ‘service’ or a ‘product’? I believe the marketing strategy we choose will depend on our answer. If we decide to market a product, we tend to promote the quality of the product, what it made of, what can it do and the price. However, if we tend to market it as a service, we can focus more on the emotional benefit and other benefits it may bring to consumers (a relaxing time, culture sense, humor sense, emerging in the amazing sounds and beautiful images, watch their favorite actors and actresses, etc.). These benefits cannot be replaced and the price will worth their experiences.

Observing the ads of many film festivals in Australia and oversea, I notice a variety of advertisements that encourage the boom of emotions and experiences and the spiritual benefit for all audiences. Most film festivals choose to market the unique experiences and feelings they deliver to the audiences in order to enhance the emotional connection between them. Therefore, their ads serve promise of a good time spending by watching movies.



And language seems not to be a high barrier to stop audiences and Film Festival exchanges experiences, sense of culture and sharing the moment together.



The marketing strategy for Persian Film Festival (PFF) mainly focuses on social media, website, YouTube with the aim to spread the reputation online at minimum cost. The social media and websites also help to enhance audiences senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling while watching film festival videos and trailers or read about our stories. As the results, many film festival videos, trailers of films and movies making are promoted, using more image and photographic than dense language based.

PFF is a small festival with a limited budget. Therefore it is a disadvantage that we could not manage to have a specialized marketing team as well as get PFF featured on national newspaper or radio or promoted by celebrities. Our marketing manager and her assistant have done much excellent work based on their knowledge and expertise in films and experiences in hosting many film festivals. Their strategy strongly relies on the connection and encouraging people to help to spread the words. Fortunately, after great effort of promoting the films Facebook page aligning with Twitter and Instagram posts, our festival is reaching more audiences and the tickets of all movies are selling fast.

Working as a volunteer social media assistant, I help my Marketing manager to keep an eye on PFF Instagram account, looking for connection and related businesses and individuals, also pushing the material of PFF to the online world. As the PFF comes closer, the more often we post.

Applying the common marketing strategy of all film festivals that promoting unique experiences and explosion of emotions, PFF has been effectively using the social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote videos, trailers, short clips and photography to attract many audiences and potential films directors, writers and actors/actresses. Despite the fact of having a small marketing budget, our marketing of PFF still push PFF to the market and make the best use of free or minimum cost media platform. And in the next few days, when the PFF is here in Melbourne, we are expecting to see many film and culture interested Australians and Asians to come to our films. It’s always great to see our marketing works bring back great results.

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