An Epic PR Journey for AVATAR
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An Epic PR Journey for AVATAR

Cameron and TCFHE set their sights on executing unmatched Blu-ray and DVD launches that would set a new standard for all future home entertainment launches.

Holmes Report

 

Due to the publicity efforts of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE), Director James Cameron’s blockbuster epic AVATAR not only boasts the distinction of being the highest-grossing film of all time, but it also holds the honor of being the best-selling Blu-ray of all time – with more than 1.5 million units sold on its first day in stores. Tantamount to its retail success was the phenomenal execution of TCFHE’s PR efforts to align with the environmental themes expressed in the film. 
 

AVATAR set a new standard for filmmaking, and our communications team set the bar for future success in global home entertainment launches in conceptualizing and implementing a publicity effort that seized upon the movie’s environmental themes, expanded fan and media excitement and delivered results that exceeded even Director James Cameron’s expectations.’’ Mary Daily, Executive Vice President, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

 
Appealing to Cameron’s vision to re-create the initial magic and magnetism that fans and media had with the theatrical release, TCFHE was tasked with developing a robust public relations program that would sustain interest in and build anticipation for two Avatar Blu-ray launches and potential sequel announcements. Cameron and TCFHE set their sights on executing unmatched Blu-ray and DVD launches that would set a new standard for all future home entertainment launches.

 

 
Seizing upon the film’s environmental themes, the first and most significant global announcement occurred March 19, 2010, when Cameron and Producer Jon Landau revealed that that their larger than life filmwould be available on Blu-ray and DVD April 22, 2010 – Earth Day! In addition, the filmmakers announced the AVATAR Home Tree Initiative in partnership with The Earth Network. It’s goal? Plant 1 million trees by year’s end. Cameron also participated in the 2010 Climate Rally in Washington, D.C. These executions were not only industry firsts in support of any Blu-ray release but they also enabled TCFHE to engage with consumers outside of the traditional home entertainment arena. 
 
The first release of AVATAR on Blu-ray and DVD delivered the absolute best picture and sound experience possible, using all of the disc’ storage space in presenting the movie and nothing more. It was not until Oct. 7, 2010, that Cameron and TCFHE would announce that this revered journey would continue with yet another home release of the epic adventure. This edition would be the ultimate box set fans had been longing for, containing; eight hours of never before seen material. AVATAR: Extended Collector’s Edition would include three versions of the film, deleted scenes, additional footage, a feature length documentary and numerous production shorts and featurettes. This release would literally allow fans to delve into Cameron’s journey of the making of AVATAR.
 
Twelve days after the announcement of the upcoming AVATAR: Extended Collector’s Edition, TCFHE presented AVATAR Global Media Day at a virtual production studio in Playa del Rey, Calif.   Journalists from across the globe were invited to an unprecedented day-long tour hosted by Cameron and Landau to provide media with exclusive behind-the-scenes access into the making of the film. This “making of” media day was the first time journalists had been invited to meet the award-winning men and women who designed the characters, immersed real actors in a computer-generated environment using advanced motion-capture technology, created an entirely new language for the Na’vi to speak, and merged all the elements together for the extraordinary end result.
 
CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY
While the success of the first Blu-ray/DVD launch was exceptional, the TCFHE team faced new challenges in a saturated DVD/Blu-ray market with a second launch of the same film. TCFHE needed to maintain momentum while building fresh interest.
 
RESEARCH/PLANNING/OBJECTIVES    
TCFHE set out to:
1.    Deliver a compelling one-two punch.
2.    Seize upon buzz around the film’s environmental messages by aligning with credentialed environmental group and develop an initiative with wide consumer appeal.
3.    Exceed sales expectations by positioning AVATAR as a must-have for every home media collection
4.    Create compelling launch events to excite journalists and garner fresh coverage.
5.    Attend fanfest events
 
STRATEGIC APPROACH
TCFHE embarked on an aggressive PR campaign to increase awareness around the film and differentiate Blu-ray releases. Focusing on the global environmental themes in the movie was the driving force behind the first launch. TCFHE would aim to connect with fans and other consumers for the second release by highlighting its added features. It was TCFHE’s ability to leverage the availability of Cameron, Landau and their entire award-winning production crew for the planning, coordination and execution of a one-of-a-kind media day.
 
CAMPAIGN IMPLEMENTATION
TCFHE planned and implemented the following campaign elements in support of the Blu-ray launches of Avatar:
·         Conducted messaging/positioning sessions with Cameron, Landau and TCFHE executives to effectively position AVATAR Extended Collector’s Edition as a must-have.
·         Developed complete electronic press kits, including backgrounder, FAQ, executive bios, launch release, photography, Blu-ray and box art, etc. In addition to media materials which were provided on branded USB memory sticks, TCFHE also provided Avatar-branded seed packages and reusable shopping bags.
·         Provided support for key events including: Earth Day, 2010 Climate Rally, tree planting initiative launches in North and South America, ComicCon, Blu-Con, and four distinct media days.
·         Created a visually spectacular event and positioned it as exclusive and offering the “inside look” into the making of the most successful film ever made. 
·         Worked closely with Cameron, Landau and their crew to create ten interactive stations that engaged journalists in the learning of: motion-capture technologies, costume design, visual effects, the creation of the Na’vi language, the sounds of Pandora and ultimately the editing technologies behind the film.
 
RESULTS SUMMARY
Total media impressions generated by the AVATAR publicity campaign: 1,454,018,346+
All elements of the AVATAR Blu-ray/DVD publicity campaign resulted in extraordinary success. More than 1 million trees were planted around the world in less than nine months. More than 1.1 BILLION media impressions were generated for the first release on Blu-ray and DVD. More than 100 influential media attended Global Media Day, contributing significantly to the successful launch of AVATAR Extended Collector’s Edition, with an additional 273,259,663 impressions garnered just seven months after the first release.  These efforts positioned AVATAR as one of the biggest ‘must have’ entertainment properties of all time.
 
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