Influence people

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Mother of All Marketers

I was a mere seven when Psycho was first released in movie theaters.

Fifty years later, the film's marketing campaign is still as vivid to me as it was in 1960.

As the grownups lined up in front of our local movie house, Alfred Hitchcock's voice played through a crackly outdoor speaker, advising them to keep the end of Psycho a secret. 

Just inside the glass doors loomed a life-size cardboard cutout of the director with a sign that said, "The manager of this theater has been instructed not to admit to the theatre any persons after the picture starts."

Both warnings were echoed on the marquee and the outdoor posters wrapped around the building.

Before the release of Psycho, a lot of people thought it was okay to stroll into a theater at any point in the showing of a film.

Not after 1960.  Hitchcock changed the way people went to movies.  Theaters playing Psycho actually had to close the box office once the picture started.

Word-of-mouth turned Hitchcock's $800,000 production into a $15 million blockbuster.

What lessons can "the master of suspense" teach?

  • Are you offering customers a new experience?
  • Are you asking customers to talk about you?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with a bit of mystery?
  • Are you insisting on time limits?

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