Forbes Consulting Group Announces 2012 Sundance Film Festival Movie Trailer Winners Based on Emotional Impact Score(TM)
LEXINGTON, Mass. and SUNDANCE, Utah, Jan. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Ever see a movie trailer and feel, “I must go see that film?” This seemingly simple reaction is big business for movies seeking success at the box office – especially smaller, independent films without blockbuster special effects, A-list celebrities, or gigantic marketing budgets to promote the film. A new study by Forbes Consulting Group (www.forbesconsulting.com) on five movie trailers entered into competition for dramatic films featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (January 19-29) sheds light on just what makes a movie trailer resonate emotionally with viewers. To complete the study and determine each trailer’s Emotional Impact Score(TM), Forbes used MindSight®, its proprietary applied neuroscience technique that directly accesses and explains the specific authentic emotions driving consumer reactions.
“Trailers that present a promise that viewers will experience a particularly desirable emotional experience elicit the strongest motivation to go and see that film,” said Dr. David L. Forbes, President and CEO of Forbes Consulting Group. “Trailers that do this successfully give viewers something to hold onto,” he adds. “They present viewers with the emotional essence of the story – the protagonist, the antagonist and the major conflicts in the story – rather than depicting abstract, emotionally flat collections of disconnected visual images. Effective movie trailers evoke specific emotional reactions, such as feelings of empathy or admiration for the main character, or feelings of deep engagement in the action of the film.” Forbes also notes that, “a little star power and some flashy effects never hurt, but all else being equal, trailers that communicate a specific emotional promise to the story are the most effective.”
And the Winners Are
Based on Forbes’ study, the winning trailers in the category of dramatic films at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival are:
- Filly Brown. With the highest MindSight® Emotional Impact Score(TM) of all the trailers tested, Filly Brown presents viewers with a young, Hispanic, female hip-hop recording star who must cope with the incarceration of her mother. Scenes cut from the recording studio to images of a woman in prison. Unfolding amid the soundtrack of the lead character arriving at the recording studio and rapping her latest hit song, the trailer evokes a strong emotional promise that viewers will feel empowered, free and successful like the main character. The trailer generates strong feelings of admiration and esteem for her. The trailer also develops an emotional feeling of connectedness to the character and the world of the film. Filly Brown is particularly compelling to non-Caucasians and young people. Not surprisingly, females and younger viewers are the most emotionally moved and most likely to want to go and see it. Filly Brown is a film to watch for.
- The Last Elvis. A Spanish-language film about an Elvis impersonator and his family relationships, the trailer unfolds against the musical backdrop of the middle-aged lead character performing a passionate rendition of “Unchained Melody” as Elvis (old Elvis, not young). Flashing between scenes at nightclubs with the lead character singing as Elvis and others depicting emotional turmoil in his relationships with his wife and young daughter, the trailer presents a strong emotional promise of generating feelings of striving, caring and nurturance as the lead character seeks – but seems to fail – to improve his life and relations with others. The trailer asks: “Have You Ever Wanted to Be Someone Else?” – a powerful and emotionally charged question that helps the trailer tap into feelings of life crisis and developing a unique identity. The film is particularly effective among viewers over 40, who are better able to relate to the main character. The Last Elvis is an emotionally evocative trailer.
- John Dies at the End. Opening with a scene of striking violence in a tranquil winter setting, this horror film trailer promises mystery, murder and mayhem all centered on a bizarre drug called “soy sauce.” The trailer engages audiences emotionally as one that will deliver thrills, as well as other feelings desirable in a horror film: insecurity, fear, isolation and being trapped in an uncaring and unforgiving world. It’s a very uneasy experience emotionally. The trailer produces the strongest MindSight® Emotional Impact Score(TM) for eliciting emotions people typically want to avoid, such as fear and insecurity. The promise of these emotions, however, is precisely what horror film audiences crave – and why this trailer works so well. In contrast to Filly Brown and The Last Elvis, which successfully employed unique musical accompaniment, this trailer utilizes a classic horror film soundtrack, building tension with pulsating orchestral strings and horns (think Psycho). Males and younger adults are particularly interested in seeing this scary movie, as expected. For horror movie fans, John Dies at the End presents a strong emotional promise.
- Less effective trailers. Trailers with weaker emotional ratings include Middle of Nowhere, the story of a woman who struggles with life after her husband is incarcerated. The trailer does not present a strong emotional promise in any particular area, but rather produces a flat reaction at best. At worst, the trailer suggests that the film might be boring. In contrast to trailers such as Filly Brown and The Last Elvis, viewers are not emotionally connected to the main character and even seem to view her as uncaring and not admirable. Keep the Lights On also struggled to connect emotionally. It’s the story of a 10-year gay relationship with partners battling addiction. Although this trailer generates the promise of feelings of living life with a unique identity, the trailer does not emotionally communicate much beyond this and the film fails to motivate many to want to see it.
About the Movie Trailer Study
The study included a quantitative survey with 500 respondents ages 18-65 and was fielded January 18-22, 2012. All respondents were shown a movie trailer and evaluated it using Forbes Consulting’s MindSight®( )technology:
- MindSight®( )enables researchers to “talk to the emotional brain.” It utilizes a patent-pending technique of applied neuroscience to obtain authentic emotional insight from respondents before their conscious mind can edit responses.
- MindSight®( )employs the Forbes Consulting Unified Model of Human Motivation(TM) to explain respondent motivations (published in Review of General Psychology, June 2011).
- MindSight®( )works by “talking with pictures,” rapidly exposing a proprietary and statistically validated library of emotionally evocative images for respondents to react to – each image is linked to one category in the Model of Human Motivation.
About Forbes Consulting Group
Founded in 1985 and based in Lexington, Massachusetts, the Forbes Consulting Group is a strategic and innovative market research company providing clients with deeper levels of insight about emotions and motivations – and helping them gain strategic market advantage on the strength of this insight. In its 26-year history, Forbes Consulting Group has become a valued resource for Fortune 500 companies. For more information, including the opportunity to receive a demo of MindSight®, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SOURCE Forbes Consulting Group