Marketing a Monster

Acme Andersson
It wasn’t easy, but we managed to corner Digital Playground publicist Adella O’Neal and squeeze her — and squeeze her hard! — for the secrets to marketing the biggest adult title release in the history of the genre. Next time you have a multi-million dollar feature to market, you might want to consult this list.

Of course, you first need the quality product to market. As O’Neal pointed out, “I don’t care who you are, how smart you are, how much money you have in your marketing budget, you are only as good as your product. Hyped shit is still shit.

“The marketing of ‘Pirates’ includes a culmination of years of branding. It rides on the success and visibility of its stars and director, in addition to its predecessor.”

And now for the secrets. While we suspect she purposely left a few out, it’s still easy to see that a press release does not a marketing plan make. Not when you’re dealing with the most-anticipated title the industry has ever seen.

Below is the step-by-step plan O’Neal followed leading up to the “Pirates: Stagnetti’s Revenge” premiere on Sept. 27.

1. Submit official marketing plan.

2. Submit day-by-day marketing plan from March 2008 through April 2009.

3. I start pitching print magazines, as they have a much longer lead time than broadcast or web.

4. Compile groups in address book/update contact lists in every conceivable cross-promotional market, from animation and martial arts to universities.

5. Produce photo shoots, collect imagery, send contact sheets out internationally.

6. Negotiate prices. Determine and separate exclusive images from promotional images. Create box cover and poster art. General guerilla hype.

7. We have box art, the first tangible marketing tool and things start getting hot and heavy. It’s one thing to talk about something you can’t see, which we’ve been doing for thee years, it’s quite another when you have something to physically show people. The more tangible marketing tools you have, the easier the pitch is.

8. Secured venue for our premiere and began ironing out all the party details, from sponsors to wristbands and security to ropes.

9. Begin planning our e-tail and retail contests, in addition to working with our distributors to secure fall catalog covers and book the beginning stages of our domestic and international tours.

10. Start heavy viral marketing.

11. Create and issue press releases on the cast list, cover art and sex scenes.

12. Began ordering merchandise — schwag — shirts, hats, etc.

13. Secure home page presence of our box cover on all websites.

14. Send posters out to all of our clients.

15. Build the marketing websites.

16. Begin creating an invite list for the premiere.

17. Started launching behind-the-scenes videos on social networking sites.

19. Planned for ExpoMark in September.

20. Began considering our AEE campaign.

21. Created window art for our store signings.

22. Started booking nationwide radio.

23. Uploaded imagery to the press section of our website.

24. Began inviting people to the premiere.

25. Released the trailer, our second tangible marketing tool.

26. Tallied our pre-orders so we could place initial run orders.

27. Hired a party planner to help put on the premiere/after party.

28. Sent finished product, (screeners) to an already confirmed media list.

29. Media requests begin flooding the inbox.

30. Promotional tour kicks off.

31. University screenings kick in.

32. Media requests continue to flood the inbox.

33. R-rating is granted (hopefully) — begin pitching R-rated angle.

34. Promotional tour continues.

35. University screenings continue.

36. Media requests continue to flood the inbox.

Next stop, Europe for Venus Berlin Fair …

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