While Twitter hashtags and Facebook page addresses have become common sights in commercials of many stripes, movie-ticketing service Fandango hopes it can make its name a steady presence in the dozens of movie trailers that appear on TV.
When Universal Pictures runs a trailer for "Battleship," its coming sci-fi adventure based on the board game of the same name, in this weekend's Super Bowl broadcast, Fandango will briefly point viewers to its website and mobile site, encouraging them to sign up for "fan alerts" about the movie as well as the chance to win five years' worth of free movie tickets.
Of course, this alliance is helped by the fact that both Universal and Fandango are part of Comcast's NBC Universal, whose NBC broadcast network is televising the Super Bowl. Even so, there is some hope at NBC Universal that "tagging" a movie trailer with an opportunity to buy a ticket will become de rigeur in the not-too-distant future.
"We want this to be the new standard for movie marketing," said Nicholas Lehman, president-digital, NBC Universal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media division. "We want to shorten that last mile between movie marketing and promotion and ticket buying and getting film fans into seats and theaters."
Movie advertising isn't the biggest category on TV -- the medium is dominated largely by consumer-packaged goods manufacturers, telecommunications marketers and automobile marketers, according to Kantar Media -- but film studios still represent a sizable chunk of the annual ad pie. For the first nine months of 2011, Time Warner , Comcast and News Corp., all owners of movie studios, were among the nation's 10 biggest ad spenders, according to Kantar data.
Clearly, if Fandango can get more movie studios to consider this concept, there could be some business to mine. Fandango regularly competes with Moviefone, part of AOL.
To focus attention on the tag on the "Battleship" trailer, Fandango will run a 15-second teaser ad in the pre-game coverage leading up to the Super Bowl broadcast, Mr. Lehman said.
As more consumers utilize big-screen TVs in the comfort of their own homes, making it easier for them to buy tickets may help movie theaters lure them outside the living room. Fandango has been talking with many movie studios about its tagging idea "to really strengthen and tighten that relationship between film fans and a movie," Mr. Lehman said. "We want to build that direct connection in partnership with the studios."