The whip and the widget
New Indy trailer built to moveWhen a second trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" premieres online this week, it should spread as fast as the first thanks to a widget.
Paramount is counting on the small, portable applications that can be posted on blogs and social networks to maximize the exposure for its trailers. The first "Skull" trailer, released in February, has racked up millions of views.
Paramount turned to widget provider Clearspring for "Skull," which will include a contest with the release of the second trailer. The two fans who manage to distribute their "Skull" widgets most will win trips to the world premiere of the movie and the chance to be red-carpet correspondents in footage that will be streamed onto the "Skull" widgets following the premiere.
"I think the reason that studios are excited about widgets is that word-of-mouth and buzz is what Hollywood is after all the time," said Peggy Fry, senior vp sales and client services at Clearspring. "If you think about it, what a widget is, it's a digital version of word-of-mouth."
Clearspring also is creating widgets for Paramount's Mike Myers comedy "The Love Guru," which will include exclusive viral videos of Myers in character. The widgets, which launched Monday, will live on Myers' Guru Pitka MySpace page, where his character will blog about love advice, as well as on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites.
Amy Powell, senior vp interactive marketing at Paramount, credited Clearspring with sophisticated backend technology that allows the studio to track its widgets wherever they lived so it wouldn't have to limit its promotions to a single platform such as MySpace or Facebook.
"We pushed Clearspring to create new technological advances for us to fit our long list of requests for our out-of-the-box thinking," Powell said.
Every week Paramount will add a new viral video to the widget, for a total of about eight to 10 videos. The widgets also will include other exclusive content, including a "Love Guru" trailer, clips and behind-the-scenes footage.
Paramount's first foray into the widget space with Clearspring was with J.J. Abrams' "Cloverfield," which benefited at the boxoffice from a successful online and widget campaign. The studio also has worked with Clearspring on a daily fortune cookie widget for DreamWorks Animation's upcoming "Kung Fu Panda" and a "Bee Movie" widget.
Other studios that have worked with Clearspring to promote their movies are Warner Bros. for "10,000 BC" and "Fred Claus," Sony for "Superbad," Universal for its upcoming "Leatherheads" and Fox for "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"