Deyemi Okanlawon writes filmmakers on how to make success of their movies at the Cinemas

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Dear Filmmaker,


Is your film marketing working? Are you maximising your marketing funds? We noticed there is an almost standard go-to-market template Nollywood employs – TV and radio interviews, radio jingles, handbills, paid social media ads and maybe billboards outside of Lagos. In the article below we have attempted to come up with a better more cost effective and efficient way to get better results from marketing your film.




Sales Activation Marketing Strategy


Nollywood has typically used the same methods to promote its films – a brand awareness strategy which is a more big business (and Hollywood) approach to (film) marketing. Small businesses with less funding would tend towards a strategy more “direct sales promotion” oriented. For example big brands in Nigeria such as NB’s Star would have an Above-The-Line (TV, Radio, OOH and Print) media campaign but would also include an on-ground Below-The-Line sales drive with a team of sales people pushing the product to retailers. The communications for both would be different – the former being a “See me! See me!” message while the latter is a price/prize-centered message. The language of sales is “I’m right here, I’m better (quality or price), buy now”




During research done across Nigerian cinemas and their audience, we have been able to pinpoint the main challenges;


High audience awareness and preference of Hollywood filmsLow trust in Nollywood films due to previous exposure to poor quality filmsPoor cinema screening schedule – time of day, frequency and duration Insufficient prints and advertising (P&A) budget




We then sought to answer the following questions; How can we replicate the success of cast tours when movie stars are unavailable 24/7? What do Nigerians really need to see/hear in promotional materials? In what format and on what platforms should the communications be shared? How do we create enough buzz to convince the cinemas to give better screenings? The proposed plan is thus based on:


Replicating the success of cast cinema tours – by employing cinema ambassadors your film, promoters present at the point of ticket sales constantly speaking with cinema customers about your film, handing them promotional materials and involving them in prize competitions. This could either be done in selected cinemas or across the country.Increasing effectiveness of trailers and handbills – apart from standard teasers and trailers there are other elements we propose a trailer should have e.g. clips where your stars add a personal touch and speak directly to the audience. Whatever prize competitions would also be added. For the standard handbills we have observed that they have little impact for film and propose our newspaper-sized alternative – a magazine customised to your film.Success of prize competitions on social media – aside from paid ads on social media it is crucial to use social media influencers (cast and 3rd party i.e. Nollywood Tweets etc.) in promoting films. On the other hand, just as newsworthy events would get free media mentions – we can help create communications that fits the requirement of  influencers free and paid.


The film sales activation strategy is an extension of the cast tour activation and can more easily be used to turn the entire film campaign into an “event” with the goal of endearing audiences to the film. It is not a stand-alone plan but should be part of an integrated film marketing plan.


Warm regards,


Adeyemi Okanlawon


Lead Consultant




  1. Written byAdeyemi OkanlawonContent Marketing, Sales and Acquisition at First Line Mar

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