With an all time record of 14 Oscar nominations, seven Golden Globe wins under its belt and a win of ‘Best Actress’ at the recent Screen Actors Guild awards, the risk taken in producing the critically acclaimed ‘La La Land’ has certainly paid off. Grossing more than £6 million in its opening weekend takings in the UK, making it this year’s runaway box office winner, it is obvious that audiences were drawn into the hype that surrounded ‘La La Land’ prior to its release. Undoubtedly, the marketing of the film contributed to its success, but what exactly has made its marketing campaign so memorable?
Branding as a 1950’s Hollywood musical comeback
Everybody loves a comeback and therefore, a key to the success of drawing audiences into the cinemas in the first place was the marketing of this film as an old-school musical. Rather than tapping into the featured romance in the film between Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) to brand the film as another romantic comedy, it was marketing genius to put the musical theatre element at the forefront of the trailers. The idea of a comeback creates a sense of nostalgia, which allows the audience to reminisce and therefore bond with the film before even setting foot in the cinema.
Strategic release date
The release date for ‘La La Land’ fell immediately after the film received seven awards at the Golden Globes was also far from coincidental. In fact, Lionsgate, the film’s media agency, had been planning the local release dates since the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in late August. The Golden Globe Awards ceremony is renowned for attracting celebrities and widespread press coverage, in turn gaining huge recognition for both the nominees and winners.
Although ‘La La Land’ has been marketed as an ‘old-fashioned’ film, it has consciously used modern methods to reach potential audiences. From Instagram and Facebook to YouTube, ‘La La Land’ has been advertised on many social platforms, making it the most talked about Oscar nominee on social media. This digital approach contributed to the media saturation. Furthermore, the special screenings of the film, introduced by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling personally targeted the press, on and offline, including vloggers, generating extensive coverage of ‘La La Land’.
After successfully getting people through the doors, ‘La La Land’ seems to have evoked the ‘Marmite-effect’ on the audience and has received mixed responses. While the majority of viewers has fallen in love with this musical comeback, some have claimed that the music and singing were not on a par with the musical classics of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Although perhaps not an intentional marketing strategy, this division in opinions has certainly got people talking, contributing even more to the hype.
So, creating a strong brand, generating press coverage and getting potential consumers talking, are a few of the factors that have contributed to the box office success of ‘La La Land’. However, with the Oscars just around the corner, will the Academy ‘love it or hate it?’