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March 24, 2006
The hot new meme: Snakes on a Plane
Five months before it's even released as a movie, Snakes on a Plane looks like a hit.
Word began to spread last year about the oddly-named movie when Samuel L. Jackson signed on to play the lead. But that's just the beginning of this coming-of-age Hollywood story.
Filming for the August 2006 release wrapped last summer. Movie fans, their imaginations fueled by a storyline with a perfect meme -- snakes on a plane -- shifted into citizen-marketer mode.
Look on Flickr and you'll find over 100 photos tagged snakesonaplane. Technorati turns up more than 9,000 posts about the flick. Google says it can find 671,000 results about it. It's even become an idiom for "(stuff) happens." (The heat was turned up today with fawning stories from the Hollywood Reporter and NPR.)
One fan created an audio trailer, replete with swelling music, sound effects, dramatic narrator, and an agitated Samuel L. Jackson sound-alike reacting to a plane full of snakes: "I want these #&@*$%%$ snakes off this #&@*$%%$ plane!"
Director David Ellis and New Line Cinema have paid close attention. The filmmakers recently re-shot parts of the movie to incorporate the ideas of fans. Come this August, thanks to these imaginative and vocal citizen-marketers, the movie will have more snakes, more death, more nudity and more swearing. They even had the real Sam Jackson say the exact expletive-filled line from the fan audio trailer.
New Line isn't stopping there. It's asking fans to create an original song for the movie. Everyone will have a vote to determine the top 25, and the winning song will be featured in the movie.
Hollywood engaging fans instead of suing them. Surely it's a sign of the apocalypse.
(Thanks to Ike for the heads-up.)
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Hi ya Ben and Jackie - Fred here from South Africa. I have just stumbled upon your blog and it's excellent. Nice one!
I am fascinated by the stuff you are talking about, and I have bought your book 'Creating Customer Evangelists' which I am about to dive into.
This post about the movie: It amazes me how these things happen. A combination of variables and suddenly the movie is on everyone's mouths. Why? Is it merely the name or concept? Or is it more? Other movies with great names have bombed, so how come this one has achieved so much w.o.m. treatment... Here in SA I have just been talking about the power of a great name to get something going in business, and we have some pearlers like 'Kreepy Krawly' (a successful pool cleaner), 'Pool Noodle' (a pool toy, 'Bugzapper' (an electric mosquito killer) and more. All these owe a large portion of their success to the power of their names.
Thanks for the comment! I think it all started with a great name and an original concept. Snakes on a Plane is a meme that you can remember and repeat easily, and it's easy to visualize.
Then when you add in the charismatic lead actor Samuel L. Jackson, who plays alot of bad-ass characters like in Pulp Fiction, you can start to visualize scenes and dialogue.
I think all of this together contributed to a group of people who said to themselves, "now that is a cool movie I would like to see." The more creative and tech savvy of these people started creating the movie trailers and songs that I mentioned above.
Wow, it's only March and the movie doesn't come out untill August. I can't imagine how big the buzz could get. Now let's just hope the movie is worth watching : )
I just came across this blog too, and as a marketing professional, I'm sure it will be a good resource. I've learned so much about taking the input of the customer in developing producsts and utilizing the customer to be your ambassador at the UofM Ross school of business, but it's discouraging in practice how much of this actually happens. It's almost as if all the executives who have MBAs forget what they learned in school.
As for Snakes on a Plane, they are encapsulating all the right marketing concepts to create buzz and I applaud them for it. Maybe I'll actually see the movie before I let my friends be the guinea pigs.
CafePress already has the t shirts...
I love this movie. But the contest is a joke. they strip the rights away from the artists, and that is wrong. Join the protest against Corporate Snakes on a Plane.
Have you seen the Snakes on a Plane at Scary Lion? They're awesome.
I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research. The fanaticism surrounding this movie is certainly unique. Usually these kinds of expectations are only created for sequels or remakes--in other words, known works.
I've found more designs at www.cafepress.com/tshirtmaster/1814993 and www.cafepress.com/tshirtmaster