Word of MouthSpace

by Marianne Richmond on May 4, 2006

What space do gymnasts, cheerleaders, Fall Out Boy fans and gay guys share? http://www.myspace.com/stickitmovie.According to Reuters, Jessica Bendinger, the director of Stick It a movie the opened April 18th from Disney’s Touchstone Pictures devised a word of mouth marketing campaign through niche outlets and a MySpace page.

Disney promoted the movie in a two week flight of TV advertising using 10 and 15 second spots on syndicated shows such as "America’s Next Top Model." The actress, Vanessa Lengies, one of the stars in the movie asked Bendinger is she could set up a MySpace page for the movie. Vanessa set up the page but after several weeks Bendinger hired a freelancer to build traffic on the site.

Bendinger identified the target audience, gymnasts, Fall Out Boys fans, cheerleaders who were familiar with Bring it On (a cheerleader movie from 2000) and gay guys.They built the site to 6000 "friends". Then Disney took over the MySpace site and upgraded the design and features which added another 4000 "friends."

Bendinger definitely gets the effect of the 10,000 MySpace friends as she recognizes that 10,000 friends who have anywhere from 50-3,000 friends can sell a lot of tickets to a movie. But, Bendinger also had a few other buzz building tactics. She sought out a gymnastics writer to draft press releases for college magazines and newspapers highlighting all the NCAA gymnasts who are in the movie.

She also worked with Disney to package the movie’s trailer and the Missy Elliot music video to the 30,000 International Gymnast’s subscribers. Their subscribers gymnastic are gyms clubs…..there are 3000 clubs in the US and each club represents hundreds of gymnasts and gymnasts-to-be who are all high potential ticket buyers.

As Wired noted MySpace is a community site that converts electronic word of mouth into the hottest market strategy since MTV. Of course, it would have been interesting to have seen the impact of a blog strategy and to have seen what would have developed on the Stick It My Space site had Disney not taken it over.

And, yes, of course, you can see a clip of Stick It on YouTube. In fact there are several.

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