Joss Whedon’s ‘Reverse Kickstarter’ is a Success

 

For many, Joss Whedon – creator of the cult hit show Firefly as well as the Avengers series – is a figure held in high reverence. In addition to being a hit-maker, Whedon is also known for doing things his own way, as he showed with Dr. Horrible in 2008, so it should come as a surprise to no one that he is doing the unconventional again with his most recent film, In Your Eyes.

The plot of the film, while very Whedon-esque, is not the most intriguing thing about the film. Rather, it is how the film was released and what Whedon decided to do after that is so unique.

Whedon announced at the film’s premier at the Tribeca Film Festival that everyone would be able to download the film from Vemo for $5 after the screening. In the announcement Whedon said, “This is exciting for us because it means we get to explore yet another new form of distribution… and we get $5.” But Whedon and his team were not going to stop with simply experimenting with a new form of distribution, they decided to growth hack the hell out of the marketing.

Some time after the film’s release the tweets started pouring in about random acts of Whedon:

The cast and crew, along with Whedon himself sent out gifts to random people who rented the movie. The idea being that those people would tweet about the experience and excitedly share it with their friends (who might also think they have a chance at being randomly selected). But it wasn’t just signed posters that were sent out by Whedon & Co.

They also sent AppleTV’s….

Rokus….

And Xbox Ones….

The response has been obviously great, as those users have gone on to share the experience, allowing the campaign to go viral which raises awareness for the film. The innovativeness of the campaign – which has been compared to a ‘reverse Kickstarter’ by many on social media – is only matched by its outstanding execution. AppleTVs, Rokus, and Xbox Ones all share the fact that they are ‘big ticket items’ the kind of thing that you would hope is under the tree on Christmas, but the connection between them is more than that… they all enable you to play Vemo on your TV, and that was likely a strategic decision.

This is pure speculation, but I wouldn’t doubt that the ‘randomly selected’ recipients of these prizes were not all that random at all. In fact I wouldn’t doubt the ones that received streaming devices likely watched the movie on their laptops, signaling a need for a device like a Roku or AppleTV. Furthermore, I wouldn’t doubt the influencers were carefully picked, as it would be a waste to send it to someone who wasn’t going to tweet or Instagram it right away.

Strategy aside, this was another brilliant and unconventional move from the mind of Joss Whedon, who is proving time and again the power of fan service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reddit Parlor

Imagine that you have entered a bar. It’s later in the evening when you arrive. When you get there you realize that many others had been there long before you arrived, and they are all engaged in heated discussion. The scene is overwhelming at first for the uninitiated, and with so many intense discussions surrounding you, it is hard to place yourself in any single discussion, so you go up to the bar for a drink and are surprised by what you see. At the bar is a very alien looking man polishing a glass, his nametag reads, Snoo. A group of people furiously engaged in heated discussion sits next to you, you finally get the courage to ask what all the fuss is about only to find out the conversation had been going on for so long that no one was left who could retrace it all the way back to the beginning for you; so you continue to observe. A hallway lined with doors at the back of the bar catches your eye, so you walk over. The door closest to you reads “Whiskey,” and the doors to each side of it read “Beer” and “Wine,” you walk down this walk down the hall this pattern continues, “Vodka,” “Rum,” “Tequila,” a room for each type of liquor at the bar. As you continue down the hall the labels on the doors become more obscure: “Chess,” “Movies,” “PlayStation” the doors are as random as they are numerous. Something else about the doors catches your eye, the fact that none of them have a lock. You reach out and turn the handle, swinging the door to the room labeled “Beer” open wide. You are taken aback as you walk inside a room that is almost identical to the one you were in before, albeit slightly less crowded. As you mosey up to the bar you notice there is something very familiar about the bartender as well and sure enough a check of his nametag reveals your assumptions to be true, it reads Snoo. You order a beer and lean against the bar, observing the goings on. Around the room there are many tables, each of which seems strangely to have room for more people to sit down despite already being bustling with activity. You watch as people walk from table to table, sitting down and offering their two cents to a discussion before wandering to the next table hoping to engage the crowd. After observing for a while, you finally garner up the courage to sit at one of the tables. As you do, you quickly begin to familiarize yourself with the conversation, and a wave of comfort washes over you as you dive into the conversation yourself. You speak your position, adding something to the argument. Someone responds to your comment, prompting an answer from you. As you speak up, someone comes to the defense of his position, and someone else speaks up in agreement with your side. As the discussion continues each person raises a point that adds something to your understanding of this ongoing conversation, and you begin to feel like a part of the living discussion. You check your watch and realize that you had been raptured in conversation for hours, lost in the unending argument. You push away from the table, stretching to reawaken your muscles as you walk out the door. On your way out of the bar you stop to peek inside a few of the other rooms in the infinite hallway, inside each is a scene similar to the one you had just emerged from, conversation still continuing rigorously despite the late hour. As you step out into the after-midnight darkness, you glance back one more time at the neon sign glowing above the bar “Welcome to Reddit, the front page of the Internet.”

#amidoingthisright: A Guide to Facebook Hashtagging

You may have been told at some point, maybe even by me, that Facebook is not the place for hashtags, they are devices for Twitter and Instagram only. Well funny thing….

Facebook recently announced that the company is going to start integrating hashtags into its network, a move that should come as no surprise to anyone. Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, the hashtag has become far more ubiquitous on the network as typically Instagram photos are posted to Facebook with no altering of phrases like ‘#nofilter’. It wasn’t long before the annoyed ‘#ThisIsNotTwitter’ comments began drying up and the hashtag itself became a part of common vernacular.

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