Word of mouth is the most powerful force you can have working to your advantage when it comes not just to marketing your product, but also in getting your product made in the first place. We live in the era of crowd funding after all; when a Kickstarter or IndiGogo campaign can make or break a creator; so this shouldn’t come as too great a surprise.
I was starkly reminded of this fact this week on two fronts.
The first came when I saw a trailer for a movie called Pixels, coming out in July. The film stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage as old school video gamers who must reunite to battle an alien invasion after aliens misinterpret broadcasts of old arcade games as a declaration of war. The aliens, in kind, attack the Earth in kind, with low resolution projections of classic game characters such as Pac Man and Donkey Kong. You can view the trailer courtesy of YouTube.
I was wondering why the idea seemed so familiar to me when I saw the trailer. I know there was a Futurama episode with a similar premise, but there was a half-memory of something rattling around in my head that seemed even closer. A little bit of research and the reason became clear. Pixels is a feature adaptation of a short film I’d seen several years ago. You can see the original short here thanks to Slash Film.
Clearly word of mouth worked out to their advantage. What started as a homegrown idea now promises to be one of the biggest films of the summer.
The second thing which reminded me of the power of word of mouth is another short which seems designed to get attention in hopes of developing a feature. This was the polished, effects-heavy short The Leviathan from director Ruari Robinson. It looks a little bit like Moby Dick crossed with elements of Frank Herbert’s Dune. You can check it out here once again thanks to Slash Film.
Popularity for the short has blown up and gone super viral. It’s easy to see why, as it’s visually astonishing and definitely makes you want to spend more time in that world. Websites have been imploring Hollywood to finance a feature version, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if something does get made.
Word of mouth in the internet age is a force that cannot be stopped. Savvy creators should take note.
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.