The Miles Davis Movie: The viral marketing plan

miles-upclose I was inspired by a July 1 post on First Showing about the viral marketing genius behind “The Dark Knight” to speculate about such viral goodness that might be part of the Miles Davis biopic.

Surely the Miles Davis movie isn’t likely to generate the same pop culture tempest “The Dark Knight” has produced in its run up to Friday’s opening, but it certainly will earn its fair share of buzz, critical appraisal and fan hype as the film draws closer to premiering.

Viral marketing seems to fit perfectly, if done correctly, for big movies like “The Dark Knight,” with so many corporate tie-ins and content platforms to work with. It’s a ‘big’ movie and thusly should aim sky high to market the thing at maximum capacity.

Let’s also not forget the legendary comic book franchise element to all this, which adds even more exposure and hype to the film.

While a Domino’s pizza / “The Dark Knight” partnership makes sense, I’m not expecting to see Miles Davis playing trumpet with the Burger King in a Whopper advertisement anytime soon.

And yet, it would definitely be something to see.

I’m excited about “The Dark Knight” and blown away with the hype surrounding the film – it definitely adds to the excitement, even though media fatigue does begin to set in.

And now we come back to Miles Davis and viral marketing. I have already written about the importance of building the appropriate marketing campaign for the upcoming film and certainly the viral campaign will play a big part – at least it could, that is.

While there aren’t any comic book or video game connections right now – a Miles Davis comic book might be really cool – jazz and other music websites/social networks would be high on my list as areas to push the brand.

I’m sure someone could come up with a video campaign to play on sites like YouTube – a series of videos that teases the movie, or play up the ‘cool’ factor associated with Miles Davis.

Word of mouth will play a big role, as it usually does, and of course the critics will weigh in, but the legacy of the great trumpeter is going to be front and center throughout the marketing, and I believe that will help the overall awareness because there is still so much interest in his music and his story.

No, jazz music is not pop music, but this is bigger than the Billboard charts, this is music history and one of the towering figures, so interest gets kicked up a notch.

Viral marketing is where the official Miles Davis website could play a big part, but as of this second the site is not ready for the big stage, to be a centerpiece on the web for all things Miles. But I’m hoping…

The forthcoming movie will make for good newspaper and magazine copy and should shed light on old records and famous stories about Miles and jazz as a whole.

If it were me I’d be handing out t-shirts to kids on the street that read something vague across the chest (related to the film) to start the buzz.

Leak some unreleased tracks and live tunes to popular MP3 Blogs.
Do something/anything with a video company. Is there a Jazz Band or Jazz Hero yet? No? There should be…

Let people design a poster. Let people design a t-shirt.

Allow creative people to do creative things…

Get interactive. Get crazy. It’s Miles Davis – the king of cool.

The Prince of Darkness.

I recall when a new Bob Dylan Best Of was hitting the market last year there was a fun site that took the concept of the famous scene from the D. A. Pennebaker’s documentary for the song “Subterranean Homesick Blues” where users could put whatever text they wanted as Dylan flipped the cards one after another. Then you could send to a friend and whatever. Sure, it lost some interest after an hour, but still, viral marketing!

I know a film about jazz music and the great Miles Davis is not going to capture the pop culture attention like Iron Man or the birth of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s twins, but there is an audience (which I will write about later) that will respond to a film like this. I also think there’s going to be a big swell in the Miles Davis legend that will push the biopic into exciting marketing directions.

There’s going to be ‘buzz’ for the Miles Davis biopic – how big we don’t know. But it will be there.

There is a whirlwind of media and entertainment vying for attention on a 24-hour cycle it’s tough to grab the spotlight, even for a moment, but the right kind of entertainment always seems to catch fire…

I think the Miles Davis movie will move the needle and cause a nice buzz in the sea of media – all leading up to the eventual moment when the public and the product can finally come together.

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