Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Not Your Father’s Star Trek: Marketing Star Trek to Gen Y
Full Disclosure – I’m not a Star Trek fanboy. I’m a Star Wars guy. I’ve grown up stereotyping and poking fun at Trekkies. I remember growing up and seeing my dad engrossed in everything from the original Star Trek episodes, to spinoffs like Deep Space Nine. I’ve spent my entire life looking down on Trekkies – so why the hell can’t I, or anyone I know, wait until May 8th to see the new movie?
Paramount faced a monumental challenge when making the new Star Trek. How do they get Gen Y on board for a Star Trek movie? Sure, it’s easy to get all the Gen X Trekkies onboard, they’d go see the movie if it had a $1M budget and actors found on Craigslist. But how do you get an entire generation psyched for a movie that’s based on a tv show they’ve grown up with a negative opinion of? Seriously, is there any tv show out there that is more polarizing than Star Trek?
Selling Gen Y on Star Trek:
Casting: There are plenty of good actors/actresses out there. However, certain actors draw certain crowds. If you’re struggling to figure out how to attract Trekkie-hating Gen Yers, cast actors they know and like. Enter – John Cho and Zachary Quinto. Cho starred in the mega hit Harold and Kumar, which is on most Gen Yers all-time favorite comedy lists. Then there’s Quinto, who plays the infamous Sylar on the hugely popular Heroes (let’s face it, Sylar is one of the best villains in a long, long time). Cast actors Gen Yers like, you'll win them over (it's so simple it hurts).
Directing: Like casting the right actors, there’s also smart marketing in who you choose as a director. Paramount brought in J.J. Abrams who wrote and produced the tv shows: Alias, Lost, and Fringe. On top of that, he wrote and directed Mission Impossible 3 and produced Cloverfield. Abrams has a proven track record when it comes to Gen Y, and the experience with big budget films to pull off a blockbuster like this. That, and he'll bring his whole cult following along for the ride too.
Marketing: Like any movie, the marketing comes with the trailers. Audiences got their first peek months ago, and since then, the trailers have gotten increasingly more action packed. However, unlike traditional trailers that try and sell you on what it is, the Star Trek trailer come out and tried to sell you on what it isn’t. With rock music blaring, and cut scenes of bar fights, sex, and a goofy looking John Cho, the bold text flashed across the screen:
THIS IS NOT…YOUR FATHER’S…STAR TREK
Want to change Gen Y’s perspective on something, take a page out of Star Trek’s marketing campaign. Because Lord knows I couldn’t have EVER foreseen myself writing anything positive about Star Trek…and I haven’t even see the movie yet.
--Now Let Me Clear My Throat--