In launching Universal Pictures' "8 Mile"-a story about a white rapper in Detroit-the key effort for the Vivendi Universal-owned studio was in delicately marketing a huge music star to the broader consumer market, all without harming his core audience.
Leading Universal Pictures' effort was Adam Fogelson, president of marketing, and Eddie Egan, co-president of marketing.
One unique early marketing element was an outdoor campaign, created in-house, showing just the title "8 Mile." But there was nothing else on this graphic-no description of the movie, not even a release date.
That sent a message to in-the-know fans: "We don't need to tell you what this is-you should already know." To casual Eminem fans, "Universal was enticing those movie-goers: Maybe I should find out about this."
"Lose Yourself" was a major single off Eminem's "The Eminem Show," released in summer before the movie came out in the fall. To date, the album has sold 7.9 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. In conjunction with this, a major music marketing conference for U.S. DJs, the Power Mix Summit in Puerto Rico in September, helped boost awareness. Universal screened the movie there.
"Word of mouth exploded out of that," says Steve Berman, senior VP-marketing for Interscope Records, Eminem's label. After that conference the song got "100 million impressions in a couple of weeks" through radio play. Paul Rosenberg, Eminem's manager, was also clearly directing much of these efforts. "He was involved in every decision," says Mr. Berman.
Meanwhile, Universal focused on the broader moviegoing audience with an offbeat trailer. It opens with someone singing a lullaby; it is then revealed the singer was Eminem.
"He was singing to his sister," says Mr. Fogelson. "This was surprising and hopefully had people saying, `Maybe I need to rethink what I know about Eminem."
A week before the Nov. 8 premiere, Universal did one more odd marketing move -it cut back on TV advertising. "There was a risk of oversaturation," says Mr. Fogelson. "I couldn't tell you this has happened many times [with film marketing]. We pulled back some TV- dead to the core - in places we knew we were at white-hot levels."