“The Social Network” Campaign

Facebook’s user stats are astounding, and with each day, even the most diminutive details of the company’s evolution make breathless copy via the real-time social eco-system known as Twitter.

Geesh. If only my clients without that social media “je ne sais quoi” could commandeer such robust attention! But then again, maybe my Twitter follow strategy is lopsidedly social and needs broadening to include those not so fervently obsessed with the machinations of Mr. Zuckerberg & company? (Do such Tweeps even exist?)

Today we find ourselves fully immersed in a media environment wherein Facebook, Twitter and perhaps, FourSquare reign ubiquitous. It begs the question: how could a film with the title “The Social Network,” written by Aaron (“A Few Good Men,” “The American President,” “The West Wing,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” etc.) not be a boffo hit?

The film’s marketers at SONY/Columbia Pictures, it would seem, would not have to do much to garner attention for the world’s most discussed and dissected social phenomenon ever, let alone the company that’s leading it. About a year ago, we were treated to a video clip of Mr. Sorkin outlining his vision for the film.

Then, three weeks ago, Columbia released the film’s first trailer, which quickly rose to the top of the social media hierarchy…as a trend on Twitter.

Today, both Gizmodo and Mashable picked up on the film’s second trailer.

Ironically, the one ad-supported channel wherein we will see zero advertising to support the film’s October release is Facebook itself, or so reports the inimitable Kara Swisher of AllThingsD. SONY’s PR guy explains:

“Facebook’s advertising guidelines don’t allow ads to reference the company unless Facebook has cooperated with the object of the ad,” said Steve Elzer, SVP of Media Relations for Sony (SNE) movie unit Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, in response to a BoomTown query. “So, we won’t be advertising there given these parameters.”

But then again, the film’s reportedly less-than-flattering (“a conniving punk”) portrayal of Mr. Zuckerberg, makes the policy more than a bit convenient for FB’s founder and CEO. From Swisher’s piece:

“Facebook PR honcho Elliot Schrage confirms that Facebook won’t be taking any advertising dollars from the Facebook movie. ‘My understanding is that they asked us for our ad guidelines and decided not to advertise on us after receiving them,’ he said. ‘I don’t think they ever submitted ad copy for us to review.'”

No matter. The amount of expected Facebook user-generated and shared content about “The Social Network” will far and away trump whatever command-and-control ad campaign SONY can conjur up on the channel aimed at the half-billion users with more than a passing interest in the film’s subject matter.


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