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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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April 03 2006

Affinitive Serenity fan marketing case study. Affinitive (formerly known as FanPimp LLC) supplied the software used to manage Serenity's fan base marketing campaign back in 2004 and 2005.

Interesting and, being a marketing company, interestingly worded.
They are presenting Firefly/Serenity as one of their case studies to demonstrate how effective their marketing strategies are. They downplay the existence of the active fan base that was already in place promoting Firefly/Serenity before this company ever came on the scene.

Appears that the "technology platform" that they utilized to "harness" the power of the fan base was the Browncoat's (now defunct) message board. Wow, gather and activate the fan base via a message board... Golly, they're ruttin' GENIUSES!

Why didn't we ever think of that?!

So the sales of the Serenity DVD hit the top of the chart at Amazon, and they point to that as evidence of their effective marketing strategy? Yeah, they really pulled off a miracle saving the sales of that dog of a movie. (Darn it, where's those HTML tags for dripping sarcasm... ?)

The wording is, of course, slanted to promote their company, spin the facts to make them shine brighter, and take credit for a big chunk of the phenomenon that was already in motion.

Enough of my mini rant... guess I'm not surprised. After all, as already mentioned in the previous post, Affinitive is a marketing company. Spin and promotion are what they do.

(But I kinda think their former name, "FanPimp" works better.)

[ edited by 11thHour on 2006-04-03 22:45 ]
Well, in fairness to Fanpimp, there software does do things like invite people (80% of them, apparently) for points for tshirts. And then there's the banners and LiveJournal icons people designed (but nobody could reuse as right-click was disabled).

I'm not really commenting on this one as I'm kicking around the idea of launching a similar company. But, you know, one which ups the ante. Let's just say I saw a lot with Serenity's campaign that could be improved.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-04-03 23:02 ]
And a grand job they did too. Join with me in a round of applause for the stellar way they understood the fanbase and did their best to manipulate work with it. Anyone? Hello? Is this thing on?
I thought they very nearly did a good job. Their biggest mistake -- and this isn't after-the-game quarterbacking, we were bitching about this at the time -- was relying solely on the fanbase and not doing enough to promote the movie to anyone else. We were already telling all of our friends. A couple of appearances on The Daily Show or Leno or Conan would have helped, I think. Or, really anywhere. We needed the audience that wasn't online.
Well, in fairness the online audience could generate buzz offline - by, for example, shipping tshirts etc before the movie opens. They also had some problems in terms of trolling (report post feature would have been a god send). Why designing icons and banners for points when they couldn't be reused really does baffle me.
Considering the number of times that site slowed down or crashed, I do find their claims a bit excessive.
But Special Ops had problems too. Lots of good ideas and no followthrough.
I am still waiting for even ONE of the the 9 things I ordered with my points.
Yes, absolutely, let's give big props to the people whose marketing genius, applied to a great film with a built-in fanbase that was released by a major studio, resulted in a total of over $100 million at the boxoffice when all was said and done, which locked in the guarantee of two more sequels to reward all the rockin' success in marketing and all. Oh, wait, no -- that other thing. /dripping sarcasm ;-)
Same here, Lioness. I ordered 6 different items from that site and never received a single one. Anyone know if there's anyone we can go to about that? Would it be Affinitive? Universal?
I don't think Affinitive has all that much to crow about, especially considering how much they charged Universal. Which was apparently quite a lot. (Which is probably why it was taken down so quickly, once the DVDs were out).

In hind sight, I think Universal should have found a well organized fan group/fan site and supported them with all the same goodies they gave to Affinitive, paid them a modest amount of cash for their time and bandwidth. In the end they would have had a much better website run by people who actually cared about this 'verse and its fans. Plus it would have cost them much less (and the site would also still be around today). But I suspect that was a bit too progressive/risky for a big organization like NBC UI.

Also, I would suspect it's Affinitive that hasn't shipped our stuff. I got all the stuff I ordered early on (like all the autographed lithographs), but the last bunch of stuff I ordered has never arrived.
No, Special Ops was/is in charge of the stuff and the one guy is still sending it out in little dribs and drabs. I first ordered in Sept, so it wasn't when you ordered that seems to affect this.
Indeed, Spec Ops was/is overall responsible for the merch sending, Jeremy.
Chris Bridges --

I know that network TV can be a tough "get" for a little star-free movie, but I STILL can't figure out why I didn't hear one peep out of NPR -- not even on "Fresh Air" where their regular contributor, Ken Tucker, is a an extremely big Whedon fan who gave "Serenity" a rave review -- just in print, not on the national air.

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