Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MARKETING Spike Lee style

an insight into Indie-style guerrilla marketing...

‘In 1985, Lee wrote the screenplay for She's Gotta Have It, about Nola Darling and her three suitors. Shot on the streets of Brooklyn and featuring a star turn by Lee as Mars Blackmon, a bespectacled and geeky would-be lover, the movie not only defied prevailing stereotypes of the Reagan-era inner-city black movie, but called to mind Woody Allen's early romantic comedies. To help finance the movie - which cost $175,000 - he obtained a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, and seed money from his maternal grandmother, Zimmie, a frugal woman who "saved her social security cheques", Lee says.’
‘She's Gotta Have It premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival and prompted a bidding war for the distribution rights. It opened in the summer of 1986, with what Lee calls a "marketing gimmick": for nearly a month, the movie could be seen at only one cinema in America, Cinema Studio in New York. "Every night it was sold out," Lee recalled. "And I would get there and hand out buttons. Me and my friends were selling She's Gotta Have It T-shirts." When the film opened in wide release, it made about $7m. The credits announced the film as "A Spike Lee Joint". Lee said: "Coming from the independent world, I knew that millions and millions of dollars were not going to be spent on the promotion and marketing of my film. So in a lot of ways I had to market myself and market the brand of Spike Lee."’

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