BY GBENGA SOGBAIKE
According to the Nigeria PR Report 2016, The Wedding Party is the most successful PR campaign in Nigeria in the past twenty years.
Termed the 2016 movie of the year, The Wedding Party brought four film production powerhouses together, afforded an award-winning filmmaker her directorial feature-film debut and mesmerised the general public with the seamlessness interpretation of complex roles by its star-studded cast.
While she felt that the principal focus on the subject matter was one of the reasons behind the success of the movie, Ijeoma Agukoronye, one of the lead producers of the movie stressed that the most effective ‘success factor’ behind The Wedding Party brand was the kind of PR strategy employed. The production crew, as well as the cast, knew that it wasn’t just sufficient to just produce a movie. According to her, “you must make sure that people know about it. The wedding party invested heavily in publicity as it was promoted on several platforms. When this is done right, covering the budget for a movie would not be a problem.”
The success of The Wedding Party as a PR campaign led Lagos to being selected as the focal city for the Toronto International Film Festival. Seven other Nigerian films were also screened — possibly as an afterthought — because all everyone could talk about was the opening movie at the festival. Much can be said about the effectiveness of the marketing team that led to Wedding Party also being selected by Dubai Tourism as part of its vision 2020 initiative.
Here is why we think the Wedding Party was a PR success.
- Nerve Center: As earlier stressed in the Nigeria PR report, social media is the base for just about everything. Having full knowledge of this, social media accounts were created for the wedding party to keep the fans engaged, create more awareness, get feedbacks and reviews, and connect with fans.
A landing page that provides information directly from the producers of Wedding Party was created to serve as the nerve centre of the marketing campaign. The information provided on this page varied from the movie info, ticket availability, movie schedule, promo i.e. win with the wedding party, members of the cast and crew, and gallery showing some highlights from the movie.
All of these together created ease, convenience and engagement around the Wedding Party brand.
- Content: Good strategy drives everything and so does a good content. Awareness and Anticipation are the two things that make or mar the financial success of a movie. Wedding Party played around with teasers and trailers to achieve both awareness and anticipation. People got interested in the movie and it was all they could talk about because no one saw the bride and groom both A-list celebrities coming out of the blue to get married.
The trailer was released a few months before the global premiere and got people excited about and looking forward to the release of the movie. It ended up grossing a whopping N36 million in its opening weekend, N66 million in its first week and over N450 million and counting in the Nigerian Box Office, which are all firsts in Nollywood.
- The PR Campaign: Being active on social media isn’t enough. There is a need to reach more audience and social media promotion would go a long way. The pizzazz created around the movie and the use of promotional incentives gave people reasons to overcome their reserves about seeing the movie.
The Wedding Party employs the promotional incentives of allowing ticket-buyers win prizes like wedding dress and suits, cakes, makeup, event centre, and drinks from answering a few questions about the movie.
- The Collection: The cast and crew didn’t keep calm about the project. They also had other influential people raise their voice. Reviews from favourite celebrities are taken seriously by movie buffs and their polar opposites alike and in Nigeria, whatever appears on Linda Ikeji’s Blog or Bella Naija always spread like wildfire.
The celebrity influence of The Wedding Party’s star-studded crew was leveraged on in order to create and sustain the initial buzz.
- Acclimate & Innovate: Being open to ideas and innovations aids the process of creativity. Tapping into trends also aid in boosting content and if it turns out great, can become viral. The social media posts surrounding Wedding Party were spot on, quite relatable and fit in the context it was created for. Memes featuring the cast and crew were created and publicised on the social media pages of the cast and crew.
The objective was to adapt trends, new digital-savvy audience and create something that will resonate with them.
The Wedding Party took the bull by the horn and its marketing strategy paid off as a result. It has successfully changed the perception and the way movie marketing is being done in Nollywood by leveraging on the power of a successful PR.
To see more insights from the Nigeria PR Report 2016, download the full report at nigeriaprreport.com