Having put in a huge amount of effort into the production, the production team was determined to make it a success, hence they came up with a very elaborate marketing plan. On 21 Aug 2009, moviegoers in more than 100 cinemas worldwide watched 16 minutes of footage from Avatar. Ubisoft also launched a trailer for a video game of the same name. Mattel showcased actions figures based on characters in the film. The day before, the teaser for Avatar broke a record on Apple.com after being streamed more than four million times.
As can be seen from the above, the producers of the film Avatar engaged in a very shrewd marketing campaign. They did not just focus on the film itself. They tried to make this a truly multi-media experience for the audience, involving multi-senses.
There seems to be an emerging trend in using new and effective multi-pronged approach in marketing. With such rewarding potential returns, it makes the expenses appear insignificant. If one is successful in engaging worthy partners/leaders of various fields to collaborate in a rewarding project, it would be a win-win situation for all sides where the risks are shared, while the rewards are multiplied. Let us look at some of the major factors of this collaboration strategy.
1) Social Networks
With the widespread popularity of digital worlds/societies like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, companies can tap on these markets, which bring unlimited possibilities, at a relatively low cost.
2) The webpage
If you have not already noticed, the webpage of most blockbuster films are carefully created and constructed to attract audiences. It would not be exaggerating to say that the webpage may even be the key deciding factor that determines whether someone watches a movie or not. On the Avatar webpage, we can access the storyline, character information, music, wallpaper downloads, discussion boards and much more. These help to enhance one’s experiences in relation to the movie, so that one feels that he is not only passively watching a movie, but actively taking part in the story as well. Remember the success of the American Idol series? One of the key factors of its success lies in audience participation, where one can ‘decide’ the winner by calling in through hotlines, rather than just merely watching a singing contest where the judges have all the power and say.
3) Interactive Trailers
This point is related to 2), where the key word is interactive. Audiences want to feel that they are participating in a show, rather than just merely watching it.
4) Augmented/Changed Reality
High-technology has changed the way we live our lives and our experiences of it. 2D and 3D movies are vastly different in nature. The producers of Avatar cleverly marketed several products by requiring the audience to purchase several ‘keys’ in order to unlock some features that are non-accessible to non-keyholders. This strategy has already been employed by many computer and online game producers to entice the participants into parting with their cash in order to enhance one’s experience of their product. Indeed, some would even go so far as to say that they are “not marketing a product, but an experience of a lifetime.”
Having employed all of the above marketing strategies, Avatar has become the biggest box office movie of all time, exceeding US$2 billion in total ticket sales. This was the result of a strong partnership between various industries and is not merely the effort of one particular industry.
How We Can Apply This To The Translation Industry
We can take reference from Avatar’s success and apply their formula to the translation industry, where a fruitful relationship between a translation company and its clients depends very much on a strategic partnership, much like the marketing strategy described above. Reaching out to the consumers does not just involve pictures. It is an art that involves more than that. A few intriguing words can rein in the imagination and steer readers towards your desired direction.
Translation is more than just handing over the documents and expecting the translator to understand what you want to convey through those words. It is about leading your translator into your world, so that he/she can make you the Avatar of that world. He/she is your bridge, that will help you communicate with your audience, to localize your brand and facilitate the conversion, so that your marketing efforts can generate optimum results.
While we all have different goals and priorities, the key is to converge our interests in such a way that will benefit all parties. Indeed, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and success is not a zero-sum game. Creating a win-win-win situation for all may involve putting in a considerable amount of time, effort and cost, but if well-planned and properly executed, it will all lead to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.