Promoting a movie release is mostly about launching a new brand that will penetrate the market. This may sound very obvious, but in cases of consumer merchandize, most new products are usually launched as an enhancement of the original brand. Model changes for cars, and quality improvement for detergents are examples of such cases.
This fact may not be so evident from the man in the street, because a vast amount of money is put into exposing the brand, in order to penetrate the market with the new brand image. The television commercials and newspaper advertisements for beer, cell phones etc. that we see everyday are campaigns of this sort.
Brand penetration in the case of movie promotions must be accomplished swiftly. This is because the average movie usually runs for a period of only 4 to 8 weeks, and so if a person is only motivated to go and see this movie 2 months after its release, the movie is most likely to be over, with another 6 months until the release of DVDs and videos. In a case where there is a large loss of business opportunity such as mentioned above, one can say that the promotion was a failure even if the representation itself happened to be a work of art.
The diagram below is an excerpt of a publicity penetrance research report. The horizontal axis shows the awareness of the movie, and the vertical axis shows willingness of going to see the movie. By continuously tracking responses, it becomes possible to see that as the day of the movie release comes nearer, the position that the movie takes in the diagram shifts toward the right. By analyzing what is behind the shift in position and also whether the vertical axis value has shifted, one can see whether promotion activities such as advertisements and other methods of PR have proven to be as effective as originally estimated.
This research methodology is used not only for movies, but also by TV stations to evaluate publicity penetration of serial television dramas every season.