NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- As wildly popular as it was controversial, the "Da Vinci Code" movie posed "scary" challenges to Sony's entertainment marketing team, according to Valerie Van Galder, president of marketing, Sony Pictures. Her panel comments about religious backlash were among the many behind-the-scenes industry insights punctuating Advertising Age's annual Entertainment Marketing awards program in Hollywood last week.FEAR OF RELIGIOUS BACKLASH
Sony Pictures' Valerie Van Galder: "There were people around this world who were really rocked by (The Davinci Code) idea that Jesus had a baby. We had to think about how we were going to deal with that as a marketing department, not to sell more tickets, but to sensitively address these concerns... When I got the job in January and the film came out in May, it was scary (for me)."
REINVENTING THE DIXIE CHICKS BRAND
Ever since 2003, when Dixie Chick Natalie Maines announced from the stage that the band's members were ashamed George Bush came from the same state they did, Simon Renshaw has been riding a hurricane. The CEO of Strategic Artist Management, which represents the music trio, recapped the chaos of managing -- and successfully rebuilding -- a music brand that has suddenly become a political pariah to a large section of its core fan base.
SECRET BEHIND A BOOK PROMOTIONAL COUP
Cynthia Black, president of Beyond Words Publishing, latched onto an internet-distributed DVD video program on positive thinking, convinced its Australian producer to swiftly write a book ("The Secret") covering the same ground, and then shepherded that title to best-sellerdom around the world where it is now licensed in 36 languages.
CHANGE THE MUSIC SALES CHART SYSTEM?
Steven Rifkind, who heads a subsidiary of the Universal Motown Records Group and reps top-selling rapper and ringtone artist Akon, wants a new music charting method. He feels the current one, which counts only album sales, is shortchanging talent like Akon who sold 2.8 million albums and 11 million ringtones. "Instead of the number one album of the week, I want a new system that has the number one money maker of the week," said Mr. Rifkind.
HOW SPIDER-MAN/NBC HEROS PROMO DEAL HAPPENED
It was money that made the Spider-Man/Heros promotional deal come together so swiftly and smoothly for Columbia Pictures and NBC Universal, said Vince Manze, president of NBC program planning, scheduling and strategy. "The synergy came about with the universal color green," said Mr. Manze, referring to the ultimate cash benefits of the collaboration that embedded a one-minute preview of the then-not-yet-released Spider-Man 3 movie into a cliffhanger episode of NBC's "Heroes."
THE CHANGING CONTENT MIX AT NBC AND SONY
In the last three years, NBC Universal's content mix has gone from 1% to more than 20% digital, according to chief marketing officer John Miller, speaking on the "New Face of Content Marketing" panel. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures vice chairman Jeff Blake frankly told the crowd, "You've got to be brutal about getting off the stuff that doesn't work so much for you anymore, and moving on to the new stuff."